Federal judge rules against unions in Act 10 caseA federal judge has ruled against two labor unions that challenged the constitutionality of Act 10.
By: Gilman Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A federal judge has ruled against two labor unions that challenged the constitutionality of Act 10.
Judge William Conley rejected the claims of two Dane County unions that the 2011 law that stripped public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights violated the free speech rights of union workers and illegally infringed on their right to equal protection. Conley says the law doesn't prevent workers from speaking out on work place issues – it simply allows employers not to listen to those demands.
Frank Emspak, an emeritus professor of labor education at the School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says the ruling sends a signal that unions shouldn't depend on the courts to protect them until they rebuild their strength in the workplace.
“It really puts the ball back in the organizing court both at the workplace and politically,” says Emspack. “The unions have to go back to a pre-1960 presence in the workplace and respect in the workplace because that's what won them collective bargaining in the public sector in the first place.”
Meanwhile state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen praised the ruling as proof that Act 10 is constitutional. Parts of the law still face a challenge from two other unions in a case that is pending before the state Supreme Court.