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Unions Sue Wisconsin|to Stop Anti-Union Law

(CN) - Two Madison, Wisc.-based union chapters and a city employee filed suit over the state's anti-union law in Dane County Circuit Court, and hope to consolidate their complaint with Dane County's earlier lawsuit.

"The [Wisconsin] Senate and the [Wisconsin] Assembly have claimed they acted lawfully when they passed said Bill, however, the legality of their action has been challenged in legal proceedings commenced in the Circuit Court for Dane County, Wisconsin," according to the complaint. "As it concerns the aforesaid legal challenge, the Wisconsin Constitution, at Article VIII, Section 8, requires the presence of three-fifths of all members elected, in the Assembly and in the Senate, respectively, as a quorum, in order to pass any bill which would have a fiscal impact on the state of Wisconsin."

Laborers Local 236 of the Laborers International Union, Firefighters Local 311 of the International Association of Firefighters and Public Works Department employee Jamie O'Brien filed the suit on Friday on behalf of the more-than 650 combined members of their groups.

They claim that the state's so-called Budget Repair Bill will impact state finances and was passed by the state Senate on May 9 without the required quorum. The bill prohibits public unions from collectively bargaining for anything other than wages.

"The actions of the Senate set forth at paragraph 8 of this Complaint were in violation of the requirements of Article VIII, Section 8 of the Wisconsin Constitution," the six-page complaint states. "Said actions render the purported passage of the January 2011 Special Session Assembly Bill 11, as amended by Conference Substitution Amendment 1, illegal and 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 null and void.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment and an injunction. They are represented by Bruce Ehlke of Ehlke, Bero-Lehmann & Lounsbury.

Wisconsin's Republican legislators published the controversial law on Friday through the Legislative Reference Bureau, even though a Dane County judge executed a restraining order last week to prohibit the secretary of state from publishing it.

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