June 15, 2011-Wisconsin labor unions file lawsuit to block anti-union budget repair bill in Federal Court

A coalition of Wisconsin unions, who would be stripped of the democratic ability and long tradition of collective bargaining, have filed a Federal Court lawsuit fighting back against the Walker power grab and war on public workers.

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO joins a broad coalition of worker right’s organizations today in filing a legal challenge to Gov. Walker’s Budget Repair Bill. The organizations include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 24, AFSCME Council 40, AFSCME Council 48, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the Wisconsin State Employees Union, The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union – Health Care Wisconsin (SEIU).

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“Not only have Scott Walker and his deep-pocketed corporate allies sought to silence the voices of Wisconsin workers, they have also violated those workers constitutional rights,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Scott Walker has created two classes of public sector workers and that is unconstitutional. When a legislature discriminates among classes of workers, especially when doing so has more to do with political payback than with any legitimate reasoning, the law has been violated.”

The lawsuit charges that the Budget Repair Bill violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution 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.

The suit contends that it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution for a legislature to discriminate among classes of public employees, particularly when doing so does not advance legitimate policy objectives but instead simply rewards political allies and punishes political opponents.

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There are additionally other lawsuits pending against the anti-union legislation:

The legal fight over Walker’s plan will continue on other fronts. Two other lawsuits are already pending, and “numerous” others are expected, according to Madison attorney Lester Pines, who represented Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) in the case the Supreme Court decided Tuesday. The other cases challenge the law on other grounds, rather than on open meetings violations.

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