MADISON (WSAU) The state government’s largest employee union has seized up to $45,000 held by five of its former local chapters that broke off to start their own union. And it appears that the locals will wage a civil court battle to try-and-get the money back. The locals called police after the Wisconsin State Employees Union withdrew the funds.
But Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said it appeared that no criminal laws were broken – and he called it a union matter that’s best settled in civil court.
Five chapters which represent state correctional officers recently decided to pull out of the State Employees Union and start their own group. They said they were upset with the way their parent union responded to the state law which eliminated most collective bargaining, and the Walker recall election that followed.
Both the state union and the locals say they have a claim to the groups’ money. The state union withdrew the money from accounts it had access to – and it took other funds from a bank deposit box. Craig Hull, one of the local presidents for the new prison union, said he learned about the withdrawals when he tried to open a new bank account last week. State Employees’ Union chief Marty Beil said the money is now in five separate trust accounts, to make sure the funds are not misused. But the locals say Beil is just trying to set up a situation in which the locals would have to crawl back to his group someday. And they two previous appeals court decisions back up their contention that the disputed union funds belong to them.