2 unions win temporary relief in payroll battle

Two unions, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the American Federation of Teachers, have won the first round of a legal battle over the state's new payroll deduction law.

U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith has issued a temporary injunction that prohibits states officials, plus officials at Alabama State University and the cities of Mobile and Jacksonville from refusing to deduct union dues for the two unions.

The temporary injunction is similar to one the judge issued earlier against state officials in a separate lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association.

The new Republican-controlled Legislature passed the law in December to prohibit public employees from using payroll deductions to support groups engaged in political activity. Firefighters President Harold Schaitberger calls the law a gag on workers.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)