Wisconsin Judge Strikes Down Law Stripping Public Sector Workers of Collective Bargaining Rights
Today was a great day to be a union member. A Wisconsin Circuit Judge struck down the main portions of Act 10, the law which stripped public sector workers in the state of the right to collectively bargain. This was the hallmark accomplishment of Governor Scott Walker. It also was the first in a series of direct attacks by on labor unions by GOP Governors since the beginning of 2011. The timing of this was no coincidence.
You see, it wasn’t enough that the Citizens United decision allowed unlimited campaign contributions to be donated to GOP Super PACs without reporting from whence the money came. They had to further tilt the scales in their favor by crippling the biggest source of campaign money for the Democratic Party: organized labor. That’s where laws to restrict or prohibit collective bargaining, which is the right of a large group of union members to have their contracts negotiated together rather than each member individually, come into focus. Little to no collective bargaining means weaker unions, which means less money going to union friendly candidates, which are generally Democrats.
Well this afternoon,Well this afternoon, Dane County Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law was unconstitutional, both AT THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL. Judge Colas has already been branded an “activist liberal judge” by Walker spokespeople, and although I cannot speak for his honor, I would wear that label as a badge of honor. Also, this decision was not out of the blue. It was the result of a joint lawsuit brought by Madison school teachers and municipal workers from the city of Milwaukee. The plaintiffs were suing because they believe in the fundamental right of unions to collectively bargain contracts for their members.
Yet again, we see these unambiguous attempts by Tea Party, Koch-funded legislators to forever keep Republicans in control at every level of government. They have tried many tactics, from breaking unions to unlimited campaign contributions to passing restrictive Voter ID laws. However, like the Senate Bill 5/Issue 2 campaign in Ohio, they have failed. Yes, Governor Walker won his recall election, but because of those efforts, the Democrats now control the Wisconsin State Senate and can halt the right wing, anti-union, anti-middle class agenda in its tracks.
Last week, I saw first hand what party will be there for labor unions. From labor leader speakers like AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and United Auto Workers’ Bob King to highlighting how the President helped save the American Auto Industry and passed health care reform and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I proudly stand in solidarity with my union brothers and sisters this fall to cast my vote for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates who stand for the working men and women of America.
YDA Vice President
Teamsters Local 814