On Friday afternoon, a Wisconsin judge dealt governor Scott Walker a big blow by ruling against the anti-labor law that Walker railroaded through last year.
Dane County circuit court judge Juan Colás ruled in favor of the Madison Teachers, Inc., and a public employees’ union in Milwaukee in tossing out most of Walker’s controversial law.
The judge found several key sections of the law to be violating the state’s constitution and the U.S. Constitution and deemed them “void and without effect.”
These sections included:
--requiring a referendum for wage increases above the cost of living for municipal and school district employees
--limiting traditional collective bargaining rights to public safety and transit unions (Walker’s effort to divide and conquer by exempting police and fire fighters)
--prohibiting payroll deduction of dues from all other public sector unions
--prohibiting municipal employers from bargaining on anything but wages for all other public sector unions
--imposing steep certification and recertification requirements for all other public sector unions
--prohibiting the city of Milwaukee from making the employee’s share of pension fund contributions.
The judge ruled that these sections of the law “infringe upon the rights of free speech and association guaranteed by both the Wisconsin and United States Constitution.”
He also ruled that the law violates the equal protection clause because it treats public and transit unions differently than other unions and other organizations.
And he said the section of the law that related to Milwaukee employee pensions violated the Home Rule Amendment of the Wisconsin Constitution.
Walker denounced the decision as biased by a “liberal activist judge” and said the administration would appeal.
Meanwhile, labor unions in Wisconsin rejoiced.
“As we have said from day one, Scott Walker’s attempt to silence the union men and women of Wisconsin’s public sector was an immoral, unjust, and illegal power grab,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “Now a court has ruled that the essential provisions” are unconstitutional.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Free Speech Advocates Defiant in Madison, WI."
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