Saturday, September 15, 2012

Walker can take a hike

(CNN) - "A Wisconsin judge on Friday ruled as unconstitutional major portions of the controversial state law that restricted the collective bargaining rights of many public employees.
Dane County Circuit Judge Juan B. Colas found several aspects of the law contrary to both the state and U.S. constitutions. 
A challenge to the law was brought against Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission by two labor unions representing education and municipal employees.

Passed and signed in March 2011, the law restricts the rights of public employee unions to bargain collectively.
The suit claims the law restricts employees’ free speech, due process and association rights, and violates certain labor regulations.

The law serves to "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 both the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions," Colas wrote.
He also found a portion of the law relating to retirement contributions exceeded the legislature's authority and was a "local affair." The Wisconsin Constitution grants broad authority over non-statewide issues to local governments."
Of course Walker will appeal, but for now the legal opinion that what he did was unconstitutional, on both State & Federal levels & violates labor laws is welcomed news. 
The thing about the Walker power play to squelch Unions most important function-- to negotiate or collectively bargain for their own wages and terms, was he had to really fight the people to do so. He had to find back door ways, and push it through under the wire. I mean when the State Capitol is taken over by the people, and the Police allowed it to go on, full well knowing that if the teachers & municipal employees union rights were being messed with, it would only be a matter of time before the police & fire union rights would be on the budget chopping block. 
Walker refused to listen to the people of Wisconsin. A major lashback  caused Wisconsinites to launch a recall vote.  Once again Walker lowlife associates played dirty-- leaving recordings reminding people to vote -- on the wrong day. 
Walker is not working for the people, but rather, forging ahead blindly, with a narrow tea party agenda, more of a bull-in-a-china shop approach. He does not care what gets broken or trampled in the means to his goal, which is not a shared goal of the people he is supposed to represent. 
The best hope is whatever higher court this decision is appealed to , simply agrees Walker's anti union law is unconstitutional & it ends there. 

Update: Upon further reading an AP article, I discovered the following:

• It is unclear if the ruling means Unions can negotiate again- Walker could seek to keep the law in effect while legal proceedings drag on. 

• The law took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers, has been in effect for more than a year. 

• The Judge ruled the law is null and void, in a 27 page ruling.  The ruling applies to all local public workers affected by the law, including teachers and city & county government employees, but NOT for those who work for the state.  They were not a party to the lawsuit, which was brought by a Madison teachers union & a Milwaukee public workers union. 
This means State workers may have to duplicate the whole legal process to get their collective bargaining rights restored.

• The ruling throws into question changes that have been made in pay, benefits, and other work rules in place across the state for city, county and school district workers. 

• Walker's law, passed in March 2011, allowed for collective bargaining only on wage increases no greater than the rate of inflation. All other issues, including workplace safety, vacation and health benefits, could no longer be bargained for. Wow! A double whammy-- restricting wage increases, along with an inflation cap.  Kind of like a punch to the gut , followed by a kick to the shins.

Lots of questions in the air about how this ruing is enacted.
In the end, they may have to not only undo what was taken away financially (and potentially owe back pay & benefits), but also have to pay extra to administer the fix. His way to balance a budget at other's expense, in an unconstitutional way, may boomerang back & wind up costing him a whole lot more.  If anything, it should cost him in the next election.

It would serve Walker right, to have to have that kind of impact-- as he tried to cheat teachers & municipal workers their Union, free speech & constitutional rights. 

1 comment:

Fran said...

Was not happy to read what a mess this is... the state workers were not included in the lawsuit, so they may have to repeat all this legal action.

How far will Walker go w his anti union crusade?

How long will the workers have to live with this bad/unconstitutional law in Wisconsin?