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LABOR ASSOCIATION OF WISCONSIN, INC

11430 West Bluemound Road, Suite 104
Wauwatosa, WI 63226
T (414) 476-6000
F (414) 476-6015
E pjkelly@law-inc-wi.com

 

11430 West Bluemound Road Ste. 104
Wauwatosa, WI, 53226
United States

414-476-6000

The Labor Association of Wisconsin, Inc., is a 21st Century labor relations firm and has been representing public employees throughout the state of Wisconsin since 1985.

L.A.W., Inc provides  labor representation specializing in law enforcement.  Our Full Service plan, offers representation in collective bargaining, grievance handling, discipline, prohibited practice complaints, unit clarification, declaratory ruling and any other hearing before the WERC among other benefits provided by LAW.  Contact us for more information.

News and Updates

News and information updates for LAW, Inc. association members.

Appeals panel asks state Supreme Court to take up union bargaining law

Debbie Plunkett

Courtesy of the Journal Sentinel 

Madison - An appeals court asked the state Supreme Court on Thursday to quickly take up a case over Gov. Scott Walker's controversial law on collective bargaining, saying the high court should decide the issue without the appeals court ruling on it.

If the seven-member Supreme Court agrees to take the case, it would speed up final resolution over whether parts of Act 10 violate the state constitution. If the Supreme Court does not accept the case, the Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals will have to issue a ruling on the case.

A Dane County Circuit Court judge in September found parts of the law violated the state constitution's guarantee of free association and equal protection under the law. The two sides dispute whether the ruling affects only the unions who brought the case or virtually all teachers and local government employees in Wisconsin.

"It is hard to imagine a dispute with greater statewide effect or with a greater need for a final resolution by the Supreme Court," the three appeals judges wrote in their unanimous request for the Supreme Court to take the case.

"Although the parties do not address the topic, news accounts suggest that several municipal employers are engaged in legal disputes relating to this topic, and many more are left in limbo wondering whether they are better off engaging in some type of tentative bargaining or refusing to engage with employee representatives. We urge the Supreme Court to accept this certification and put these legal issues to rest."

The request comes two days after the unions who brought the lawsuit filed a motion with Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colás asking him to block the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission from enforcing parts of Act 10 because of the judge's September ruling.

The suit was brought by Madison Teachers Inc. and Public Employees Local 61, which represents City of Milwaukee employees.

In his ruling last year, Colás found parts of Act 10 violated the associational rights and equal protection rights of local government employees who chose to join a union because it treated them differently than employees who did not choose to join a union. Specifically, those in a union are limited by how much they can seek in wage increases, while those not in a union can seek any amount from their bosses, the judge said.

Colás also ruled Act 10 violated the home-rule clause of the state constitution because it dictated how much Milwaukee employees had to pay into their city pension funds.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who is trying to overturn the lower court ruling, said in a statement he is confident Act 10 is constitutional and called the appeals court's request a "positive development."

"Any remaining issues concerning Act 10 need to be resolved as soon as possible and this action by the Court of Appeals gives the Wisconsin Supreme Court an opportunity to resolve them in a final, binding decision," Van Hollen's statement said. 

Officer Sebena's name on Memorial Wall

Debbie Plunkett

Please consider signing this Petition so that Office Sebena’s name is added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington DC.

Click this link to sign petition:  https://www.change.org/petitions/add-wauwatosa-police-officer-jennifer-sebena-s-name-on-the-national-law-enforcement-memorial-wall-in-washington-dc

National memorial to reconsider adding murdered officer's name in April - courtesy 620 WTMJ NewsRadio

Click here for story :http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/199888891.html   

Parts of Act 10 still on hold, appeals court rules

Debbie Plunkett

Here is the latest information we have regarding ACT 10.  LAW continues to monitor this issue and will update everyone when more details are released.  As always, if you have any questions, please contact our Germantown office.

Courtesy of JS Online 

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday kept in place - at least for now - a lower court's ruling that found parts of Gov. Scott Walker's union law was unconstitutional.

The ruling means that for now portions of the law cannot be enforced. The law, which prompted massive protests in early 2011 at the state Capitol, all but eliminated collective bargaining for most public employees.

The court's ruling comes in the early stages of the appeal, and the three judges could reach the opposite conclusion later.

The court has not yet addressed who is subject to the lower court's decision, which has prompted disagreements between local governments and unions. Some argue the original decision applies only to workers from Dane County and Milwaukee who challenged the law, while others say the original ruling applies to all local government and school district employees.

Those who appealed the decision asked the Court of Appeals to stay the original ruling for a number of reasons, including that it had caused confusion for local officials who did not know if the law, known as Act 10, would ultimately be upheld or struck down by higher courts. The court of appeals was not persuaded by that argument.

"It appears to us that the sort of confusion the appellants highlight is not a product of the circuit court's decision, but rather a product of ground-breaking legislation that is now subject to constitutional challenges," the unanimous court wrote. " . . . It appears that the potential for litigation on this topic will not be lessened until the merits of the constitutional issues are finally resolved by action of our supreme court."    

Federal court of appeals upholds Gov. Walker's union law

Debbie Plunkett

By Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel

A federal court of appeals has upheld Gov. Scott Walker's legislation repealing most collective bargaining for most public employees, though a separate case remains ongoing at the state level. 

Last year a federal judge in Madison largely upheld the legislation but struck down parts of the legislation dealing with prohibitions on government employers withholding union dues from workers' payrolls as well as a section requiring labor unions to vote to recertify yearly. The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed that lower court's ruling in a split decision Friday that upheld the law in its entirety. 

"The district court invalidated Act 10's recertification and payroll deduction provisions, but upheld the statute's limitation on collective bargaining. We now uphold Act 10 in its entirety," the decision reads.

State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen praised the decision in a statement. 

“For nearly two years, those opposing Act 10 have tried every angle to have it struck down and invalidated.  Today’s decision by the Seventh Circuit confirms what I have stated from the beginning.  Act 10 is constitutional," Van Hollen said. "While there are no guarantees, it is my hope that this decision will pave the way for resolving any remaining challenges in a manner that supports the legislative decisions made by our elected officials.”  

Judge David F. Hamilton dissented in part, saying he believed part of the collective bargaining law violated the First Amendment. Hamilton argued the state could not bar some unions from having their dues deducted from paychecks while it allowed public safety unions to do so.

Hamilton concurred with the rest of the decision. 

Voting to uphold the law in its entirety were Judges Joel M. Flaum and William J. Bauer. Flaum wrote the opinion. 

A judge in Dane County last year also struck down parts of the union law and that case is on appeal and is not affected by he federal ruling Friday. 

A spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker had no immediate comment. 

One attorney for the plaintiffs had no immediate comment Friday, saying she had to look at the decision. 

Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) praised the ruling. 

"We knew that this would happen when you get judges that look at the law, not the politics," he said.

 He said he was hopeful the decision would provide momentum for overturning the Dane County decision that blocks portions of Act 10.