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Parts of Collective Bargaining Law Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge today said automatic collection of dues and requiring annual re-certification violate unions' First Amendment rights.

Two components of Act 10 - the budget repair bill - were deemed unconstitutional today, according to a federal judge's ruling.

Specifically, unions challenged whether or not dues can be automatically deducted from public employee paychecks and that unions must certify with an absolute majority.

The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of unions shortly after Act 10 was passed last year.

Saying those provisions violate union members' First Amendment rights because public safety employee unions are not subject to the same restrictions, US District Judge William M. Conley issued his opinion Friday. He rejected assertions that the law violates any equal protection under the law clauses, but he ordered that automatic dues withdrawals be reinstated by May 31.

In a story from jsonline.com, Conley's ruling is quoted, in part, as saying, "So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights."

State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) said in a news release that today's ruling serves as a reminder of Wisconsin Republicans' "unprecedented power grabs" this session.

"Unnecessarily dividing our state and unconstitutionally dismantling workers’ rights are not examples of responsible governance – they are examples of extreme arrogance," Pasch said. "The extreme, divisive decisions made by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans threaten to undermine Wisconsin’s longstanding traditions of openness and transparency and damage the well-being of our working families."

Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, and he issued a statement with Assembly Majority Leader Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) saying the reforms of Act 10 will stand the test of time.

“While we’re disappointed that two parts of the law were struck down by a liberal judge from Dane County, appointed by President Barack Obama, the fact is he ruled almost all of Act 10 constitutional.  We are hopeful that the ruling will be appealed but are pleased that the first federal court test confirms that Act 10 is valid," they wrote. "The reforms in Act 10 have undeniably helped the state move forward past difficult financial times.  The reforms were used by local governments and school districts to balance their budgets.  Together with our jobs agenda, Act 10 helped turn the tide and move the state toward a more prosperous future for its citizens.”

Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), the ranking Democrat on the Joint Committee on Finance said the judge's decision is a win for public employees.

"The decision is a vindication for workers and their right to be in a union without discrimination," he told Patch Friday.

morninmist April 02, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Barrett is coming out of the gate strong. http://elections.wispolitics.com/2012/03/barrett-walker-started-civil-war.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed Barrett, who on Tuesday seeks to be elected to his third term as Milwaukee’s mayor, told a spring meeting of about 150 Marathon County Democrats at a labor temple in Wausau that Walker was a “divide and conquer” leader who dropped a “bomb” on the state with his successful plan to eliminate collective bargaining for most public workers. ..... Barrett called Walker a politician interested in “kicking his political enemies when they were down” instead of trying to find solutions to problems. “We all know what happens when someone drops a bomb. They either obliterate a village or people fight like they have never fought before,” Barrett said. “And that is what happened here in the state of Wisconsin.” Walker decided rather than focus on jobs, he focused on “ripping this state apart,” Barrett said. “For the first time in my lifetime, we can’t talk politics in this state without getting mad at each other.” Walker cares only about himself and his “ideological war,” Barrett said, blaming the governor for failing to resolve differences over a new mining law and a venture capital bill. “He cared about going around the country delivering his gospel according to Scott Walker.” ..
morninmist April 02, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Hoffa You will notice Barrett is attacking Walker-not other Dems. That is good. Onto the recall election.
Tom Barrett April 02, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Gotta get some distance from Johnny Thomas endorsement and financial support. Time to attack that Dem.
Tom Barrett April 02, 2012 at 12:07 PM
@morninmist Can you please help me with this? http://wisupnorth.com/2012/03/where-was-tom-barrett-before-the-vote/
MrsPeel September 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Leave Johnny alone and stop picking on him. He is just describing the "government" of Somolia which is a "Libertarian Paradise" where there are no rules, no taxes, and no pesky police or fire departments. He is just describing the type of "paradise' that he would like the US to become.

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