A federal appeals court upheld the controversial Act 10 legislation that limited collective bargaining rights for public union employees Friday, reversing an earlier federal court decision that found portions of the bill unconstitutional.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, based in Chicago, reversed a ruling made by Madison federal court Judge William M. Conley last year in a two to one decision. Conley previously ruled certain portions of the law, specifically those concerning withholding union dues and requiring mandatory yearly union voting for recertification, unconstitutional.

The 7th Circuit opinion, authored by Judge Joel M. Flaum, said both he and Judge William J. Bauer believed Act 10 should be “upheld in its entirety.”

The third judge on the panel, Judge David F. Hamilton, dissented from the official opinion in part, saying the portion of Act 10 allowing certain unions to have dues withheld, while simultaneously protecting unions like those for firefighters and police officers from such treatment violated the First Amendment. However, Hamilton agreed with the remainder of the decision.

Wisconsin state Republicans welcomed the ruling, saying it validates the hard work Gov. Scott Walker and other state Republicans put into the law and will help to ease the burden on Wisconsin taxpayers.

Republican Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who represented the state in court, said in a statement the decision to uphold Act 10’s constitutionality “confirms what [he has] stated from the beginning.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the decision will help taxpayers, and blamed the original ruling on what he said was a politically motivated judge.

“What we’ve seen in this case--and with so many others before it--is that a liberal Dane County judge made a political, not a legal, decision,” Vos said in a statement.

However, multiple state Democrats released statements in opposition to the decision, claiming it is a setback for middle class families and reverses progress the state had made on collective bargaining issues.

In a Friday statement, state Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said he continues to support the rights of all workers to bargain collectively and will soon introduce legislation to restore collective bargaining for Wisconsin public employees.

State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, used the ruling to call for more cooperation in state government, saying he hoped the decision would allow legislators to move away from political “favoritism” and “punishment” in favor of bipartisanship.

“We must find real solutions the Wisconsin way of sitting down together and rolling up our sleeves to tackle problems with all stakeholders to repair some of the damage that has been done by this law,” Barca said in a statement.

You might also like

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Post a comment

Lowden
Lowden

All the more reason to dump these pinhead Republithugs running the state into the ground. The mining bill would ravish the state just to benefit one person. Like I even need to bother saying which mega-billionaire it is.

The take-it-or-leave-it contracts thrown at teachers while collective bargaining was not allowed apparently has led a large number to LEAVE. The losers are the school districts and student losing the best that can either transfer to very much delighted private schools, retire early or move away.

The winners are the already extremely wealthy beneficiaries of the obscene Domestic Production Tax Credit deviously slipped into the budget.
The $90 Million it cost the state just in 2011 had to be carved out of tax credits for poor people. The $100 Million plus it cost in 2012 will have to be cut somewhere. The hardworking teachers I am sure will be warmed to know their reduced paychecks are for a good reason - so the very wealthiest can eventually pay ZERO state taxes on private business income due to annual cuts in the state tax rate.
Appalling and outrageous.