A federal court of appeals on Friday upheld Wisconsin's law repealing most collective bargaining for most public employees, handing a victory to Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans who put the law in place amid tumult two years ago.The battle goes on, but the war seems to be over.
Parts of the collective bargaining law, known as Act 10, remain on hold because of a state judge's ruling in a separate case, but Friday's decision was a setback for public employees and their unions.
Last year, U.S. District Judge William M. Conley largely upheld the legislation but struck down parts of Act 10 dealing with prohibitions on government employers withholding union dues from workers' paychecks as well as a section requiring labor unions to vote to recertify yearly. The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed that lower court's ruling in a split decision Friday that upheld the law in its entirety.
"Today's court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers," Walker said in a statement. "The provisions contained in Act 10, which have been upheld in federal court, were vital in balancing Wisconsin's $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid."
The lawsuit was brought by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the Wisconsin State Employees Union and other unions. WEAC President Mary Bell expressed disappointment with the decision.
"What is so abundantly clear is that Act 10 was never about addressing the fiscal needs of the state but instead a ploy to eliminate workers' rights to have a voice through their union - political payback for citizens who didn't endorse the governor," Bell said in a statement. "This marks a setback, but the fact of the matter is that our members will not give up on their commitment to restoring their rights to negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions."
Friday, January 18, 2013
Scott Walker wins again: