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Constitutional Law — collective bargaining

Wisconsin Supreme Court


Constitutional Law — collective bargaining

Act 10 is constitutional.

“First, we hold that the plaintiffs’ associational rights argument is without merit. We reject the plaintiffs’ argument that several provisions of Act 10, which delineate the rights, obligations, and procedures of collective bargaining, somehow infringe upon general employees’ constitutional right to freedom of association. No matter the limitations or ‘burdens’ a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect. Accordingly, we conclude that Wis. Stat. §§ 111.70(4)(mb), 66.0506, 118.245, 111.70(1)(f), 111.70(3g), 111.70(4)(d)3 and the third sentence of § 111.70(2) do not violate the plaintiffs’ associational rights.”

“Second, we reject the plaintiffs’ equal protection claim under a rational basis standard of review. We apply rational basis review to the plaintiffs’ argument that the collective bargaining framework established by Act 10 violates the constitutional rights of general employees through disparate treatment of those who choose to collectively bargain and those who do not. Finding the plaintiffs’ argument to be unconvincing, we hold Act 10 survives the plaintiffs’ equal protection challenge under rational basis review.”

“Third, we hold the plaintiffs’ home rule amendment argument fails because Wis. Stat. § 62.623 primarily concerns a matter of statewide concern. Accordingly, we hold that Wis. Stat. § 62.623 does not violate the home rule amendment.”

“Finally, we hold that the plaintiffs’ Contract Clause claim fails. The City of Milwaukee was not contractually obligated to pay the employee share of contributions to the Milwaukee ERS. Further, even if the contributions paid by the City were a contractual right, we hold the contract was not substantially impaired by Wis. Stat. § 62.623. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Wis. Stat. § 62.623 violates the Contract Clause of the Wisconsin Constitution.”


2012AP2067 Madison Teachers Inc. v. Walker

Gableman, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Kilpatrick, Steven C., Madison; St. John, Kevin M., Madison; For Respondent: Pines, Lester A., Madison; Packard, Tamara, Madison; Crawford, Susan M., Madison

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