January 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 27

Advertisement
Advertisement

January 27, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 26, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 25, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Wisconsin Public Sector Collective Bargaining Reforms

On July 31st the Wisconsin Supreme Court by a vote of 5-2 upheld Wisconsin’s public sector collective bargaining reforms applicable to general public employees. Today’s decision ends three and half years of contentious litigation over the enforceability of the reforms, which were implemented by the adoption of 2011 Wisconsin Acts 10 and 32.

The Court’s decision was premised on the fact that public sector employees do not have a constitutional right to collectively bargain with their employers. Justice Crooks stated succinctly in his concurring opinion, “Under the proper application of the correct legal standard and the relevant precedent, this is not a close call. Therefore the plaintiffs’ challenge must fail.”

While the decision leaves in place the flexibility granted by Act 10 to public employers, employers still need to take care when communicating with their employees. The decision makes clear that employees, as do all citizens, have a constitutionally protected right to associate for the purpose of petitioning the government on a host of issues. Such petitions from public employees may include employment related topics. How a public employer responds to such petitions from employees are complex and nuanced questions that should not be made without consulting with counsel. Act 10 prohibits employers from bargaining over certain topics and therefore employers must be careful that any response to a communication from employees or engaging employees in discussions in these prohibited areas does not constitute bargaining.

©2022 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 213
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Robert Mulcahy, Michael Best Law Firm, Private and Public Sector Labor and Employment Attorney
Partner

Rob is a skilled negotiator whose practice includes both public and private sector management labor and employment law. His work includes National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings, collective bargaining, contract administration and arbitration proceedings.

Rob also has extensive experience working on employment discrimination matters and wage and hour claims. He helps clients tackle tough issues, including:

  • Union elections and right to work

  • Severance agreements...

414-225-2761
Joseph Olson, Michael Best Law Firm, Employee Benefits Litigation Attorney
Partner

Joe is a trial attorney practicing primarily in the areas of class action defense, wage and hour litigation, employee benefits litigation, regulatory compliance, and complex commercial litigation. In this capacity, he:

  • Routinely helps clients deal with class actions suits across all subject matters

  • Handles all aspects of complex employment litigation including wage and hour suits arising under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and applicable state laws, plus benefits litigation...

414-277-3465
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement