Collective Bargaining Law Determined Unconstitutional
A Dane County judge has declared Act 10 — the budget repair bill — as unconstitutional at both the state and federal levels.
The law that ended most collective bargaining rights for public employees was struck down Friday by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas.
According to our media partners at Fox 6 News, Colas ruled Act 10 — the budget repair bill — as null and void because the law violates both the state and US Constitutions. Specifically, the law violates the guarantee of freedom of speech and citizens' freedom of association.
Colas' 27-page decision is summarized in The Capital Times, quoting the judge's primary reason for his decision as " (Act 10) single(s) out and encumber(s) 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."
Act 10 also violates the constitutional right of equal protection under the law by creating separate classes of state workers who would be treated unequally and unfairly under the law, Colas determined.
The decision comes after the Madison teachers union and a Milwaukee city employee union filed suit. It is unclear just yet if this means the law is suspended immediately or how it will stand up after a federal judge issued a ruling on these same matters last March.
In a case brought by a group of unions right after Act 10 was passed, US District Judge William Conley upheld parts of Act 10, but also declared portions of the law unconstitutional. In a nutshell, 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 because public safety employee unions are not held to the same standards.
Gov. Scott Walker issued a statement saying he is confident the ruling will be overturned.
"The people of Wisconsin clearly spoke on June 5th. Now, they are ready to move on. Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor," he wrote. "We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process."
Patch will update this story as more details become available.