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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Embedded Ruling: Federal Court Rules On Governor Scott Walker's Collective Bargaining Law

By Susan Duclos

A Barack Obama nominated Federal Judge William M. Conley has ruled on the controversial collective bargaining law for Wisconsin signed by Governor Scott Walker and gave a little something to both the proponents of the law as well as the opponents.

(Embedded ruling below post)


A federal judge in Madison on Friday ruled that portions of Act 10 - the lightning-rod measure from Gov. Scott Walker that removed most collective bargaining for most public employees - are unconstitutional.

Critics of the law welcomed the decision as a major victory, but backers of the legislation seemed unconcerned since the ruling preserved a main limit on bargaining, and suggested broader restrictions would pass muster if applied to all state workers.

Seven major public employee unions had challenged the fact that Act 10 dramatically narrowed what could be bargained by general public employee unions, and required those unions to recertify every year by an absolute majority of membership while denying the same unions voluntary payroll deductions for dues.

The court sided with state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained, but found the two other provisions violated the union members' equal protection and First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers such as police and firefighters.

Collective Bargaining Ruling

Although Governor Walker is pleased the court's ruling favored state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained they do plan to take it to a higher court for the ruling against the other two portions that the Judge struck down.

Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Walker, said in a statement "Today, Judge Conley affirmed the constitutionality of nearly everything in Act 10. We are confident that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will continue to uphold the constitutionality of the law."

The collective bargaining portion, which was upheld, was the most controversial portion of the law and at the time of passage resulted in massive Union protests, and the Democratic Senators leaving the state and hiding out in Illinois, in an attempt to prevent passage.

Walker will face a recall election on June 5.