With all the other things going on in the news, you have may missed the fact that the controversial collective bargaining law implemented by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans has been validated by a federal appeals court. A district judge had earlier blocked some of Act 10’s provisions, but the appellate panel overturned that ruling and determined the entire law was okay.
As CBS News reports, “The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago found the law is constitutional and its ban on the automatic deduction of union dues is acceptable.”
You may recall that Wisconsin state senate Democrats abandoned their constitutional work stations in February 2011 and hid out in Illinois to prevent a vote on public sector collective bargaining reforms while union protesters trashed the state capitol in Madison. The union reform legislation — which was designed to prevent the state from going bankrupt as a result of jacked-up public sector pay, benefits, and pensions — was finally voted into law about a month later.
Organized labor and the Democrats subsequently tried and failed to recall Scott Walker from office, and recalls of other Republican office holders were only temporarily successful as both branches of the state legislature are back under GOP control. An effort to dislodge a perceived Scott Walker ally from the state supreme court also was defeated.
A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit in a 2-1 decision has now ruled that Act 10’s prohibition on automatically deducting union dues from paychecks does not violate the First Amendment and is not discriminatory because the law exempted cops and firefighters.
There are various other legal challenges still pending, including at least one in the state courts, but Wisconsin’s attorney general is optimistic that this decision will provide some closure. “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,” AG J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.