VICTORY! Judge strikes part of Wisconsin anti-collective bargaining law


by Félix Pérez

Is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s anti-worker agenda falling apart at the seams?

On Friday, March 30, Walker suffered two significant setbacks: a federal judge struck down two parts of his law that strips public service workers of their right to bargain collectively for fair wages and safe working conditions, and the state elections board set the date for the election to recall Walker.

U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that two provisions of Act 10, the deeply unpopular governor’s so-called budget repair bill, are unconstitutional. Conley ruled that the state violated workers’ First Amendment rights by preventing public employee unions from collecting dues and requiring that they recertify annually.

The two provisions were “specifically intended to attack the operations and viability of unions that didn’t support Scott Walker by requiring us to go through excessive hoops in order to maintain basic operations,” said Mary Bell, a junior high school media specialist and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, which joined six other public service worker unions in challenging the law.

The ruling, added Bell, “means the union will be able to once again focus on the issues that are tied most closely with the success of students and our schools – professional issues, safety issues – leaving educators to in turn focus on what they most care about: educating children.”

photo by Sue Peacock, Flickr

Conley’s decision came just a few hours after Wisconsin election officials voted 5-0 to hold an election to recall Walker on June 5. The election was spurred by voters upset with Walker’s heavy-handed tactics and anti-worker agenda. Organizers collected nearly 901,000 signatures; only 540,208 were required.

Kelly Steele, a spokesman for We Are Wisconsin, the leading organizer of the volunteer-driven signature-gathering campaign, said, “While we’re pleased that Scott Walker’s transparent attempts to destroy his political opponents have been ruled illegal under the First Amendment, this ruling only raises the stakes for the upcoming recall elections. The reality remains Walker lied his way into office by concealing plans to wipe out 50 years of collective bargaining.”

Want to stay current on the Walker recall and other education and worker rights news? Receive EdVotes’s weekly news digest in your inbox.

Reader Comments

  1. Governor Christie was sneaky about it, but has done largely the same in NJ. Unfortunately, the opposition here is disorganized enough, and the media is biased enough, that he doesn’t get more than a small portion of the blame he deserves for the “State of the State of New Jersey”. We really need to get it together so he has no chance of re-election. Pay attention out there, he has his eye on the Presidency or some high profile federal position. He is an even bigger disaster waiting to happen.

  2. Governor Snyder and the republicans in Michigan have done many of the same things. There was an attempt to recall the governor but it fell through. I don’t understand why there isn’t more outrage over this current administration. I am glad to see that the hard work of the people in Wisconsin payed off – I am encouraged when I see injustice being exposed and destroyed. I just wish we could get that momentum going here in Michigan.

  3. Congrats Wisconsin. Please put Indiana’s legislature and governor on notice that their two year assault on education and the working class is next! Unfortunately we do not have recall. Our State superintendent has declared more “reforms” after the upcoming election.
    Help stop him before he ruins everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *