In Wisconsin Education Association Council, et al. v. Walker, et al., a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, the controversial budget repair bill that curtailed the collective bargaining rights of certain public employees, in its entirety. The decision is the latest among the long-running legal battles between public employee unions and the state of Wisconsin, but it will not be the last as there are other cases still working their way through the state courts.
Applying a rational basis standard, all three federal judges concluded that restricting “general employees” and not “public safety workers” from bargaining on subjects other than base wages did not violate equal protection rights. All three judges also upheld Act 10’s “recertification” process for general employee unions. A 2-1 majority upheld the prohibition on collecting union dues through payroll deductions.