by Cynthia McCabe | September 14, 2012
A judge late Friday struck down a law that effectively eliminated the right of public workers to collectively bargain in Wisconsin, calling it a violation of both state and federal law.
The ruling is a stunning rebuke to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who rammed the anti-worker law through in early 2011. Walker’s attack, backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and executed by like-minded legislators, touched off a public outcry that culminated in more than 100,000 people thronging to the state capitol to protest the law.
Word that Walker’s Act 10 had been overturned spread quickly through crowds of Wisconsin public employees who were gathered at the statehouse in Madison Friday evening for a rally of solidarity with striking Chicago public school teachers.
“There was huge excitement there,” said Marty Beil, executive director of AFSCME Council 24. “Every public employee ought to be excited about this.
“We’ve now had a federal and state judge say this law was unconstitutional and that it violated not only the state constitution but the U.S. Constitution as well. The working men and women from across this state deserve to have their rights, which Scott Walker stole from them, restored and today’s ruling gave them hope. ”
Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas’s ruling said the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void. According to the Associated Press, the immediate fate of the law – whether it would be immediately suspended – was unclear.
Walker’s office said they would appeal the judge’s ruling, which stated that portions of the law “single out and encumber the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and association guaranteed by both the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions.”
“Today, Gov. Scott Walker was rejected by the courts again,” said AFSCME Council 48 Executive Director Rich Abelson.
“Today’s ruling shows that his attempt to steal the rights away from working men and women in Wisconsin was unconstitutional. We have always believed that Governor Walker and the state legislature overstepped their authority by taking away the rights of public employees to collectively bargain.”
AFSCME will continue fighting to make sure the ruling is upheld said Rick Badger, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 40.
“The rights of the hard working men and women to collectively bargain and to organize are fundamental, and today, the Dane County Court agreed.”
Ramming through Act 10 made Walker a conservative darling and he was recently given a primetime speaking spot at the Republican National Convention. But Wisconsin citizens did some speaking of their own, talking about his efforts to squelch their voices.