Posted In: Wisconsin, Workers' Rights
UPDATE from the Wisconsin Education Association Council: On September 18, State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed papers asking Judge Colas to stay his ruling pending the outcome of an appeal. A stay would keep Act 10 in effect until the appeal is resolved.
A Dane County judge has thrown out parts of Governor Walker’s Act 10 – saying the law violated both the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitution.
Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law violated workers’ constitutional rights to free speech, free association and equal representation under the law. He noted that the law caps union workers’ raises but not the wages of non-union workers. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Colas also ruled that Act 10 violated the “home rule” clause of the state constitution by setting the contribution for City of Milwaukee employees to the city pension system rather than leaving it to the city and workers.
The decision creates a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the state’s collective bargaining law for public employees. Governor Walker signed Act 10 into law in March of 2011, but Friday’s ruling technically returns the law to its status before Act 10 went into effect.
Walker said that his administration will appeal the ruling, and the case likely will again end up in the State Supreme Court. In the meantime, the administration likely will seek a stay of Colas’ ruling, which, if granted, would allow Act 10 to remain in effect until appeals are resolved.
The Journal Sentinel quoted Madison attorney Lester Pines as saying, ”The decision essentially creates the (2011) status quo for municipal employees and school district employees because it declared the essential provisions of Act 10 to be unconstitutional.”
The lawsuit leading to the judge’s ruling was filed by Madison Teachers Inc. and funded by WEAC and NEA members. WEAC is party to a similar federal court action claiming that Act 10 violates the First Amendment and Equal Protection clauses of the federal constitution. On March 30, Judge William M. Conley struck down the requirement for annual recertification elections and the elimination of payroll dues deduction but upheld the elimination of bargaining rights for all subjects other than base wages. That decision has been appealed to a federal appeals court in Chicago and will be heard on September 24. Judge Colas’ decision goes further than Judge Conley’s decision in that it finds the elimination of all bargaining rights over subjects other than increases in base wages to be unconstitutional.
Original article posted September 14 below:
The excerpt below is from a story posted by Associated Press. Come back later for additional information.
A Wisconsin judge has struck down the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers. Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled Friday that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void.