Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 2011 legislation curbing the collective bargaining rights of some public unions and not others was upheld in its entirety by a U.S. appeals court panel.
In a 74-page decision issued Friday, the Chicago-based court reversed a Milwaukee federal judge’s finding last year that portions of the law were unconstitutional.
The parts of the law known as Act 10, requiring annual recertification votes and barring the voluntary deduction of dues, don’t violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law and free speech, the appeals court said.
“We now uphold Act 10 in its entirety,” U.S. Circuit Judge Joel Flaum wrote for the majority.
U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote a partial dissent. He broke with the majority on its approval of the state’s prohibition of voluntary payroll deductions “for some public employee unions but not others.”
The legislation sparked protests outside the state’s Capitol and a recall election in June, in which Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, his Democratic challenger.
“Today’s court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers,” Walker said in an e-mailed statement. The provisions in Act 10 “were vital in balancing Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid,” he said.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council last year sued in federal court in Madison, the state’s capital city, seeking to overturn the law and saying it was politically motivated and discriminatory.
The appellate panel heard arguments on Sept. 24.
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