February 14, 2016

Police group challenges collective bargaining law

A state police union has filed a lawsuit claiming Wisconsin’s limits on collective bargaining for most public employee unions are unconstitutional. The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association says the controversial state law championed by Governor Scott Walker and Republicans violates constitutional rights to free speech, association, and equal protection.

Judges have chipped away at the union law as the result of similar lawsuits from other groups. The law enforcement group says its state troopers and motor vehicle inspectors were exempted from the law, but UW Police, DOT field agents, and Capitol Police were impacted. The Association said the law caused the group to split in two, each with different rights.

The State Justice Department says the lawsuit is under review. After a decision in a similar lawsuit that struck down portions of the law, the department argued the measure is constitutional and the state will prevail.

The agency is challenging rulings in two lawsuits this year. One struck down the limited collective bargaining privileges for local government and public school employees. Another struck down requirements that unions must have annual recertification elections and that public employers could stop deducting union dues from employees’ paychecks.

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