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State prison guards to vote on joining union starting June 28th

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin prison guards will decide in just over a month whether to join one of two unions, or continue to work without representation.

State corrections’ public safety and security workers will vote by mail between June 28th and July 18th.

Enough petitions have been signed to hold an official vote on whether the guards should re-join the Wisconsin State Employees Union, or go with a new group called the Wisconsin Association for Correctional Law Enforcement.

The State Employees Union, one of the largest in state government, decided not to re-certify under the Act 10 law which spelled out very limited bargaining privileges for most public unions.

Last fall, guards who said they were unhappy with the State Employees Union formed their own group. They’ll continue to be unrepresented unless one of the unions gets 51 percent support.

State Employees Union chief Marty Beil is confident the guards will re-join his group. He said a rejection would be the worst thing in the current political climate.

In January, State Employees Union locals sued the proposed new union for allegedly moving $100,000 of members’ dues into new accounts.

An attorney for the new union says previous cases show that union dues should be under whoever represents the workers – not who collected the money in the first place.