Wis. Supreme Court rules collective bargaining can be gutted

June 14 - by Tula Connell, AFL-CIO Blog


According to WisPolitics.com, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, threw out a lower court ruling invalidating the collective bargaining law passed by the Republican-led legislature and pushed by Gov. Scott Walker (R).


The decision had not yet been posted at the court’s site by late this afternoon. But a posting at the court’s site for the appeal described an order in which Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi’s orders in the case are vacated and declared void.


The brief description on the court site said the court concluded the Legislature did not violate a provision in the Wisconsin Constitution that the doors of each house shall be open except when public welfare requires secrecy. During oral arguments last week, there were a series of questions about public access to a conference committee meeting in which lawmakers took up the legislation. That meeting was the basis of the open meetings violation Sumi found in invalidating the law.


In her dissent, Justice Shirley Abrahamson says it is ridiculous the court would decide to take the case and decide it on the same day. A reasoned decision is the cornerstone of democracy, and the court simply didn’t take the time to address all the substantive matters of the case.


In short, the court has ruled Walker and the legislature can do whatever they want, however they want, with no regard for the rule of law.


Earlier report on lower court:

May 26 – A Wisconsin judge struck down that state's new anti-worker collective bargaining law today, ruling that GOP legislators failed to provide sufficient public notice before passing the measure this year.


Striking down the law that eliminated most public employee collective bargaining is a repudiation of Gov. Scott Walker's blatant power grab, AFT President Randi Weingarten says. AFT is one of MEA-MFT's two national affiliates, along with the NEA.


The ruling says that Wisconsin lawmakers violated the state's open records and open meeting laws.


"It demonstrates yet again that Wisconsin's Republican lawmakers used indefensible tactics when they pushed through controversial anti-democratic and anti-worker legislation in the dead of night without any deference to public input or transparency," Weingarten says.


Says AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy, "The people of Wisconsin have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they do not want this bill. Attempting to silence Wisconsin's public workers has cost legislators who supported Act 10 dearly. More importantly, it's divided the state, turning the people against their government."


Weingarten notes that "Wisconsinites have told us two things over and over since Gov. Walker took office: public employees have a right to a voice in their workplaces, and the governor and his allies have overreached. Students, teachers, nurses, firefighters and so many others filled the streets and kept watch to protect the rights of workers and their democracy.


"The Republican-dominated state legislature has a choice: stop stripping workers of their rights and defying the public will, or face recall elections. We urge these lawmakers to change course and abandon their efforts to insert this anti-worker legislation into their budget bill. Wisconsinites, including the thousands who signed recall petitions, are watching, and so is the world." [AFT and AFT-Wisconsin press releases]


Read CNN article.


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