Supreme court ends collective bargaining fight

Union protests in Wisconsin 2011

MADISON, July 31, 2014 — The controversial ruling that sparked massive protests and ultimately led to a recall election of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker was upheld on Thursday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The 5-2 ruling ends the three year battle over union rights and collective bargaining.

The policy achievement of Walker’s administration prohibits public unions from collective bargaining for anything other than base wage increases based on inflation essentially cut off union’s power in the state of Wisconsin.

Before the case went to the state Supreme Court, the law was deemed constitutional two times by federal appeals courts.

The lawsuit was filed by the Milwaukee public workers and Madison teachers unions claiming the law, violated workers rights to free assembly and equal protection.

The court disagreed with the unions when they ruled that “collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation”.

The ruling was not unexpected given the conservative make-up of the court and the previous rulings.

In response to the ruling, Walker, who is seeking re-election and is contemplating a 2016 presidential campaign, issued a short statement cheering the decision and stating that the law has saved taxpayers $3 billion because it requires additional contributions be made by employees to health insurance and pensions.

The bill was introduced shortly after Walker took office in 2011.

The Democrat state senators left the state for two weeks in an attempt to kill the bill which ultimately failed.

The law has provisions to make it easier for workers who are not interested in being part of a union to be separated from it such as not allowing the unions to take automatic withdrawals for dues and yearly votes to verify that the members want to continue having a union.

A recall election of Walker was called for in response to this bill in 2012 which he won, becoming the first governor to come out victorious in a recall election.

Walker is up for re-election this Fall against Democrat Mary Burke who supports restoring collective bargaining, but has yet to make any promises about working to repeal the controversial law if she is elected.



The Associated Press contributed to this report

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