Those looking for excellent news in the midst of a clearly-souring global economy can find it in Wisconsin.
I am pleased to report Federal appeals court upholds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s restrictions on public unions
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious law stripping most public workers of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights in a decision hailed by Republicans but not undoing a state court ruling keeping much of the law from being in effect.
The decision marks the latest twist in a two-year battle over the law that Walker proposed in February 2011 and passed a month later despite massive protests and Senate Democrats leaving for Illinois in a failed attempt to block a vote on the measure.
The law forced public union members to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits, which Walker said was needed to address a budget shortfall. It also took away nearly all their bargaining rights.
Walker and Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who fought for passage of the bill, called the ruling a win for Wisconsin taxpayers.
“As we’ve said all along, Act 10 is constitutional,” Walker said in a statement, referring to the law’s official designation.
While Friday’s 2-1 ruling by a panel of the 7th Circuit could influence the state appeals court and others hearing the cases, it’s not binding, said Paul Secunda, a Marquette University law professor. It certainly doesn’t signal the end of the legal fights, he said, and it could be appealed to the full federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The public unions will fight until every one of their arguments are considered in full,” Secunda predicted.
The law in question prohibits most public employees from collectively bargaining on anything except wages. It also requires public unions to hold an annual election to see whether members want the organization to continue to exist, and it bars unions from automatically withdrawing dues from members’ paychecks.
Walker specifically exempted public safety unions from the law’s effects, however. He said he didn’t want to risk police and firefighters going on strike in protest of the law’s provisions.
The appeals court upheld the law in its entirety Friday. The judges said the state was free to draw a line between public safety and other unions. The state had a rational basis to protect the public safety unions and the law didn’t explicitly discriminate against other public worker unions based on their political leanings, the court said.
“Distinguishing between public safety unions and general employee unions may have been a poor choice, but it is not unconstitutional,” the opinion said.
The battle cry from Wisconsin is a union complaint that their "right" to collective bargaining has been taken away. Nothing could be further from the truth. You cannot take away something that does not exist and never did.
Please consider this simple sentence straight from the Declaration of Independence.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Public unions take away those "unalienable rights" via collective bargaining arrangements.
Five Ways Collective Bargaining Tramples Various Unalienable Rights
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.
The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.
A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.