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Conflicting court rulings leave Act 10 in limbo

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UNDATED (WSAU)   The state-and-federal courts still don’t agree on whether Wisconsin’s Act-10 is totally in place. Yesterday, a state appeals court in Madison refused to re-instate the entire limits on public union bargaining, before it decides whether the law applies to local government and public school employees. The state says it will consider appealing that decision.

Meanwhile a federal appeals court in January upheld all of Act-10 for all units of government in Wisconsin. It’s the state courts where the law is in limbo.

Last September, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas said the bargaining limits violated the employees’ right to free speech and association – and it was illegal to limit pay raises for only union workers. The state’s Fourth District Appellate Court has not ruled on the issues yet – only on whether the law should stay in place until then.

Governor Scott Walker expects the state courts to uphold all of Act-10, after a federal appeals court did the same in January when it threw out lawsuits from seven Wisconsin unions.

The law lets most public unions bargain only for wages at-or-below inflation. After Judge Colas struck part of it down, some unions in Madison and elsewhere scrambled to get new contracts in place. Some observers still wonder if the Colas ruling applies to local and school workers statewide – or just those in Madison and Milwaukee who filed that case.

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