The controversial state law that curtails collective bargaining for most public employees was upheld by a federal appeals court Friday.
In ruling that Act 10 is constitutional, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the state had a rational reason for rolling back collective bargaining rights, and rejected arguments from public employees unions that they violated First Amendment rights, WisPolitics.com reported.
The court overturned a decision by a federal judge last year that struck down parts of the law dealing with prohibitions on government employers withholding union dues from workers' payrolls and a section requiring labor unions to vote to re-certify yearly, the Journal Sentinel reported.
A separate case challenging the law remains ongoing at the state level.
Friday's decision was praised by Gov. Scott Walker, who introduced the legislation as part of his budget repair bill in 2011.
As we've said all along, Act 10 is constitutional.
Today’s court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers. The provisions contained in Act 10, which have been upheld in federal court, were vital in balancing Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid. With this ruling behind us, we can now focus on the next state budget, which will invest in priorities to move our state forward.
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen also applauded the ruling:
For nearly two years, those opposing Act 10 have tried every angle to have it struck down and invalidated. Today’s decision by the Seventh Circuit confirms what I have stated from the beginning. Act 10 is constitutional. While there are no guarantees, it is my hope that this decision will pave the way for resolving any remaining challenges in a manner that supports the legislative decisions made by our elected officials.
Mike Tate, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said:
We continue to believe that Scott Walker’s Act 10 is divisive, harmful and polarizing policy that sought to reward Walker’s political allies at the expense of working Wisconsin families.
Even the federal appeals court that today upheld Act 10 on narrow legal grounds noted that the principal provisions of Act 10 fit the description of legislation that 'rewards friends and punishes opponents.'
Patch will continue to get reaction about this topic from a variety of sources and update the story throughout the day, so please check back.