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The new union representing correctional officers in Wisconsin’s prisons filed suit Monday hoping to avoid having to hold a second certification election within a year.

The Wisconsin Association for Correctional Law Enforcement in July became the union representing about 5,900 state security and public safety workers who once belonged to the Wisconsin State Employees Union. But the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission is requiring that WACLE hold another election in November to recertify, under a provision of Act 10, the 2011 law that sharply curtailed collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

According to its lawsuit, WACLE contends that WERC exceeded its authority under the law by requiring a recertification election within a year of the first one. The lawsuit also alleges that WERC is illegally requiring that WACLE keep its certification only if the union receives 51 percent of all eligible voters, rather than 51 percent of the votes cast by bargaining unit members.

That requirement, WACLE contends, forces the union to spend more money to achieve a higher threshold than the law requires.

The lawsuit seeks an order stopping WERC from implementing the rule it created to enforce the law and from holding another certification election for the union.

The case has been assigned to Dane County Circuit Judge Ellen Berz.

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