Unionized government employees have won a dramatic reversal in the 2003 class action against former Republican Governor John G. Rowland and his budget director, Marc Ryan, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concluding that limiting layoffs to unionized employees violates their constitutional right of association.

The three-judge panel reversed the 2011 summary judgment in favor of Rowland and against the union employees, and ordered "appropriate equitable relief." The judges plowed new ground. They had never before fashioned a formula for determining when and how a government’s employment decisions violated union members’ constitutional right to associate. The court concluded that when union members are singled out to be the only ones fired, something’s clearly wrong.

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