CHICAGO, IL (WTAQ) - A three-judge federal appeals panel ruled today that it was constitutional for the state to virtually eliminate collective bargaining with most public employee unions.
Now, the head of the National Right-to-Work Foundation says Governor Scott Walker should take the next step – and push for legislation that would bar private sector workers from having to pay union dues as a condition of employment. But with his re-election bid just 21 months away, Walker has said he would not disturb the apple cart – and he promised not to seek a right-to-work law in the current legislative session.
The three-judge appellate panel in Chicago upheld the entire Act-10, as passed by the Legislature in 2011. The judges reversed a ruling last year from Federal Judge William Conley, who said it was unconstitutional to bar public employers from having to withhold union dues from paychecks. Conley also threw out the requirement that public unions – except for police-and-fire groups – recertify themselves every year in order to keep being recognized.
The Republican Walker hailed the court ruling as a victory for taxpayers. But local government and public school unions are still allowed to fully bargain with their bosses, after a Dane County judge threw out that part of the law last September. The state is still challenging that ruling in a state appeals court.
Mary Bell, head of the state’s largest teachers’ union, says her group is weighing its options. Her union was among seven that challenged Act 10.
They can appeal Fridayt's ruling to the full federal appeals court – and then to the U-S Supreme Court.