Walker's controversial collective bargaining law struck down by Dane County judge
Post by Emily Mills on 9/14/2012 6:12pm
Act 10, the controversial law that took away most collective bargaining rights from public employees, was struck down for being unconstitutional by a Dane County judge on Friday.
In his ruling on a lawsuit brought against the legislation by Madison Teachers, Inc. and Public Employees Local 61, which represents teachers in Milwaukee, Circuit Judge Juan B. Colas said Act 10 "violates the Wisconsin and U.S. constitutions' guarantees of free speech and freedom of association."
Furthermore, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, "sections 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 the state and federal constitutions.
"Colas also ruled that the law violates the equal protection clause by creating separate classes of state workers who are treated differently and unequally under the law."
Read the full ruling here (pdf).
The law was defended in court by the Attorney General's office, which has indicated that an appeal of the decision is certain.
Cullen Werwie, Gov. Walker's spokesperson, alsosaid that an appeal was likely though he wasn't yet sure what the immediate ramifications of the ruling would be.
A press conference with representatives from Madison Teachers, Inc. and their attorneys is scheduled for Saturday morning at 10 a.m. to discuss the decision.
The firm representing the teachers clarified that the ruling only applies to municipal workers, and not state employees.
The introduction of Act 10 sparked months of mass protests in Madison and statewide, and triggered the eventually failed effort to recall the governor.
Union leaders and Democratic politicians were quick to praise the ruling. District 1 congressional candidate Rob Zerban released a statement calling the decision "a resounding victory for hardworking Wisconsin families. The Walker Law has been a noose around the necks of unions since it was passed."
“This is a good day for Wisconsin’s working people and the union movement,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “When workers choose to join together for mutual aid and protection, their employer should honor their choice, come to the table and discuss wages and working conditions.”
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at
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