October 31, 2014

Wisc. anti-union law overturned; but …

A Wisconsin county judge has invalidated the state legislature’s law curtailing collective bargaining rights for most public employees, but an appeal is expected to the state supreme court whose conservative majority may overturn the lower court ruling as it did in 2011 in the face of another successful lower court challenge.

Earlier this year, a federal court invalidated a provision of the law barring dues check-off and requiring annual representation elections. That ruling remains intact.

The controversial anti-union mandate, supported and signed into law by Wisconsin conservative Republican Gov. Scott Walker, drew massive public protests and resulted in a labor union-led drive to successfully unseat a number of conservative lawmakers who backed its passage. An attempt to recall the governor failed.

The UTU Collective Bargaining Fund and UTU members played a meaningful role in those recall elections.

The county judge overturning the law banning public-employee collective bargaining ruled it violates the state and U.S. constitutions’ rights of free speech, free association and equal representation under the law.

Union officials in Wisconsin say ultimate relief will be at the polls in November. If a labor-friendly majority controls the legislature, it is expected the anti-union law will be repealed and further assaults on labor unions will be ended.