Wisconsin Act 10 Upheld in its Entirety re: Bargaining Rights of Municipal Employees
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a ninety page decision issued this morning, reversed the decision of Dane County Circuit Judge Colas who had held that parts of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (“Act 10”) affecting collective bargaining rights of general municipal employees were unconstitutional. Justice Gableman wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court in this 5 – 2 decision. Justice Crooks wrote a concurring opinion. Justice Bradley wrote the dissent which was joined in by Chief Justice Abrahamson.
Act 10 was controversial legislation introduced early in Governor Walker’s term. Act 10 requires annual certification elections for general municipal employees. In such elections, to remain as the representative of the employees, the labor organization must obtain at least 51 percent of the votes of those eligible to vote. Under Act 10, collective bargaining for general municipal employees is restricted to bargaining over “total base wages” only and is further subject to CPI limits established by the Department of Revenue and published by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. Dues and fair share deductions are also prohibited by Act 10.
This reversal was not a surprise. The Supreme Court decision follows federal court decisions finding Act 10 to be valid in all respects. The text of the decision is found here.