Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has become one of the most prominent state leaders in the country, but whether or not he is a figure of derision or respect largely hinges on an anti-union law he first proposed in 2011. That anti-union law, called Act 10, has been fought against since its inception, but a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling has given Governor Walker the power he needs to put a stop to collective bargaining for public sector workers, reported The Wall Street Journal.
But Scott might have other problems come election time — the ruling has faced controversy for the fact that the author of the majority opinion, Justice Michael Gabelman, has narrowly avoided being unseated from the Wisconsin Supreme Court because of two separate scandals, reported progressive news source Think Progress. In one, Gabelman openly lied about his opponent when seeking election to the Wisconsin court. The decision of whether or not to remove him was split 3-3.
While other Wisconsin political figures have gone as far as calling for the return of the 7-day work week, Gabelman’s majority opinion for upholding Wisconsin’s anti-union law hinged on the fact that unions are essentially a privilege and not a right.
“No matter the limitations or ‘burdens’ a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation.”
Wisconsin politicians from across the state weighed in on the decision, with many of the Democrats using it as an opportunity to underscore the need to vote for them in upcoming elections, according to a lengthy list of state legislator reactions found on the local Fox News affiliate. However, Governor Walker has continued to argue that the law is essentially in place to save money for taxpayers who are not involved in the union process.
“Act 10 has saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion. Today’s ruling is a victory for those hard-working taxpayers.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, collective bargaining is essentially what it sounds like — unions are able to make broad moves in order to collectively push for benefits or rights that the groups deem good for workers. As explained by an SFGate editorial, the private sector allows the union workers being represented to change leadership if they do not agree with the bargaining, but in the public sector this change is quite different — elected officials such as Governor Scott Walker become the board that citizens are ready to overthrow, creating a conflict of interest for politicians who are supposed to fairly represent their entire base.
Still, many of Walker’s arguments have been heavily criticized, left-wing news channel MSNBC ran the following interview on The Ed Show when Walker went before a congressional committee about his law last August, where the Wisconsin governor essentially argued that the anti-union law was a budgetary issue.
[Image via Reuters]