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Milwaukee public union chief takes job on AFSCME's judicial panel

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The head of Milwaukee’s largest public employee union is leaving to take a national post in that group.

Rich Abelson has spent the last 16 years as the director of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

He tells the Journal Sentinel he’ll become the head of the AFSCME judicial panel on July 1st. The committee rules on various disputes within the union.

Abelson has spent the last 8 years as a part-time member of the panel. He’ll move to Arlington Virginia for his new post.

Abelson has long criticized the Act 10 law which virtually ended collective bargaining in AFSCME and most other public unions throughout Wisconsin.

The law continues to be challenged in the courts, and Abelson said he doesn’t like leaving in the middle of a fight. He said he looks forward to the promotion, but calls the move from Wisconsin “bittersweet.”