A Wisconsin judge overturned most of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s attack on public employee collective bargaining rights last week. The ruling by Dane County Judge Juan Colas overturns parts of Walker’s ban on collective bargaining and returns the law to its status before the legislation was passed and signed by Walker in March 2011.
The ruling “Shows as we have said from day one,” says Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt. “Scott Walker’s attempt to silence the union men and women of Wisconsin’s public sector was an immoral, unjust and illegal power grab. Now, a court has ruled that the essential provisions of Act 10, Scott Walker’s draconian attack on public worker’s right to collectively bargain, is unconstitutional.”
Because the suit was brought by unions representing local employees, Colas’ decision applies to city, county and school workers but does not apply to most state-level workers. Walker’s administration vowed to appeal the decision and the issue could end up before the Wisconsin Supreme Court which has a conservative majority.
In his ruling, Colas said Walker’s law violated union members’ freedom of speech and association and equal protection under the law because Walker’s bill subjected union-represented jobs to restrictions not faced by other public employees.