by Patricia Guadalupe | March 30, 2012
A district court in Wisconsin today overturned two key provisions of Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-worker Act 10, saying they were unconstitutional.
“After today’s decision by the federal Court in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker has egg on his face,” said Marty Beil, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 24. “His budget repair bill, which strips the rights of working people, was found to be unconstitutional. If that’s not a sign of radical over-reach then we don’t know what is.”
Judge William M. Conley wrote, “the State’s interest in avoiding the reality or appearance of favoritism or entanglement with partisan politics is the very reason this court cannot uphold the State of Wisconsin’s apparent, if not actual, favoritism and entanglement in partisan politics by discriminating in favor of fundraising efforts on behalf of public safety unions over general employee unions.”
The court has given the state until May 31 to reinstate automatic paycheck deductions for state workers.
“Scott Walker was elected on a campaign of lies, and today his attempt to decimate his political foes was dealt a blow of mythic proportions,” said AFSCME Council 48 Executive Director Rich Abelson. “Make no mistake, this ruling raises the stakes in the recall election, and AFSCME members from across Wisconsin are energized and now more than ever ready to lead the fight in the upcoming recall elections of the governor and state senators. AFSCME will not rest until our members’ rights are restored and Governor Walker’s extreme right-wing agenda is stopped.”
The court also found that it was unconstitutional for the state to require only general employee unions to obtain an absolute majority in annual union recertification elections.
“Workers’ rights to negotiate for fair wages, safe staffing levels and safe working conditions and collective bargaining are not fully restored by today’s decision,” said Rick Badger, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 40. “The remedy for Walker’s abuse of power is to take that power away from him in a recall election to have a full vindication. The fight continues and will continue until the rights of hardworking public service workers are restored.”
We Are Wisconsin, a coalition of AFSCME and other union members and their community allies issued a statement on the judge’s ruling, saying, “While we are pleased that Scott Walker’s transparent attempts to destroy his political opponents have been ruled illegal under the First Amendment, this ruling only raises the stakes for the upcoming recall elections. The reality remains that Walker lied his way into office by concealing plans to wipe out 50 years of collective bargaining, and the fight continues until workers’ rights to negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions are fully restored.”
Gov. Walker today became the first governor in the state's history to face a recall election after the state Government Accountability Board voted unanimously to certify 900,938 signatures, far more than what were needed. A general election is scheduled for June 5.