The Blog

Wisconsin Unions Take Case to Federal Court

4:13 PM, Jun 15, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: 

One day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of collective-bargaining legislation that potentially affects thousands of public-sector employees, a coalition of unions filed suit in federal court seeking to block it.

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO on Wednesday joined a number of other unions seeking to halt Gov. Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining legislation.

The groups include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 24, AFSCME Council 40, AFSCME Council 48, the American Federation of Teachers, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the Wisconsin State Employees Union, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union – Health Care Wisconsin. 

In a statement, the groups said they filed the suit because the collective-bargaining legislation "denies hundreds of thousands of public employees their right to collectively bargain for a better life. The groups challenge the constitutionality of the state’s Budget Repair Bill which would destroy collective bargaining rights for all but a select group of public sector workers."

The suit, filed in the Western District of Wisconsin, says the legislation violates the First and 14th amendments "by stripping away basic rights to bargain, organize and associate for the purpose of engaging in union activity, which have been in place for the last half century."

All federal public employees do not have any collective bargaining "rights." Neither do public employees in a number of states. So it would be a huge leap for a federal court to declare that the U.S. Constitution enshrines a right to collective bargaining for benefits--i.e. a union's right to veto reductions to their pension and health care benefits.

But never underestimate the ability of a federal judge to find a constitutional "penumbra" or "emanation" that justifies his ideological preferences.

(Via Ben Smith)

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers