When governor Scott Walker introduced the controversial collective bargaining law, Act 10 in 2011, it prompted months of protests, and inspired a hard-fought recall effort that Walker survived in June this year.
Act 10 prohibits local governments from offering unions a base wage increase above the cost of living, or negotiating about other terms of employment - imitations that do not apply to employees who are not represented by a union.
A Wisconsin judge has now struck down as unconstitutional sections of Act 10, at least as applied to municipal and school district employees, who are the majority of public workers in the state.
“This is a sound decision by the court that upholds what we were saying all along — that Act 10 violates constitutional rights,” said Christina Brey,
a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Education Association Council to www.commondreams.org.
Judge Colas found that the law offers certain privileges and advantages only to non-union members, and effectively makes those advantages conditional
on employees not joining a union.
These restrictions violate employees' free speech and associational rights, says judge Colas. "It is undisputed that there is no constitutional right to collective bargaining,"
Read the full decicion from judge Colas.
Governor Walker criticizes the "liberal activist judge in Dane County" and vowes to appeal the case.