Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that the centerpiece of Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to break down the unions in Wisconsin not only violated the state constitution, but the United States Constitution as well. In doing so, he struck down nearly every aspect of the law. The Walker Administration has already vowed to appeal the law, but unions are calling it a victory.
The ruling applies to all local public workers affected by the law and includes teachers as well as city and county government employees. It does not directly effect state workers because they were not part of the lawsuit. It was brought by a Madison teachers’ union and a Milwaukee public workers’ union.
Walker accused the judge of being a “liberal activist” who “wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process.” Dana Brueck, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, said that they believe the law is constitutional.
Lester Pines, one of the attorneys for the Madison Teacher Inc, said that ‘the ruling means all local governments, including school districts, are now required to bargain with employees covered by unions, just as they did before the law passed. Pines predicted the case would ultimately be resolved by the state Supreme Court.’ HE also stated that “What’s going to happen in the interim is unknown.”
Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca stated “This is a huge victory for Wisconsin workers and a huge victory for free speech. This decision will help re-establish the balance between employees and their employers.”