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April 16, 2014

Seventh Circuit Upholds Controversial Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law

The Seventh Circuit on Friday upheld Wisconsin’s controversial Act 10 limiting collective bargaining rights for most of the state’s public employees. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Republican-held Wisconsin legislature had passed the law in February of 2011, despite significant protests by Wisconsin Democrats and union leaders. Union leaders challenged the law in federal court, claiming that it was unconstitutional, and the Western District of Wisconsin overturned some provisions of the law and upheld others in a ruling in March 2012. On Jan. 18, the Seventh Circuit reversed portions of the district court’s ruling and upheld the law in its entirety, dismissing all of the union’s arguments.

This decision is another blow to union-backed court fights, which have been unsuccessful in challenging state laws limiting collective bargaining rights in other states as well. As we posted yesterday, union constitutional challenges to Indiana’s Right to Work law were also dismissed in federal court last week.

The Wisconsin case is Wisconsin Education Association et al. v. Scott Walker et al., Seventh Circuit Case No. 12-1854.  Friday’s opinion is available on the Court’s website here.

© 2014 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP

About the Author

Christine Holst, Labor and Employment Attorney, Barnes Thornburg, Law firm
Associate

Christine Holst is an associate in the Grand Rapids office of Barnes & Thornburg and is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Department. She focuses her practice on general labor and employment matters and defense of Title VII, ADEA, and other employment discrimination cases.

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