Saturday, January 19, 2013
Walker's Reforms Upheld in Court
Scott Walker was elected in 2010. In 2011, Wisconsin faced a $3.6 billion dollar deficit. Walker proposed Act 10, which curbed the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees, barred automatic union due deductions, and prevented public sector unions from negotiating anything beyond wages. Employees also had to contribute more toward their pensions and benefits (still less than the private sector.)
The backlash from the public sector unions was immense. The flight of Democratic lawmakers to neighboring Illinois was immediate. Walker's Act 10 prevailed, an immense and immediate success. Despite legal challenges and recall papers, the liberal Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel endorsed Walker, who overcame the recall.
The unions filed a lawsuit. Misconstruing the Constitution, Judge Juan Colas ruled key parts unconstitutional. A federal judge also ruled in favor of the public sector unions. Despite legal challenges, Walker prepared to lower income taxes, expand mining rights, and implement education reforms. Right-to-work legislation lingers in the Madison statehouse.
Recently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed the lower courts’ rulings, another win for Wisconsin reforms, and a blatant harbinger of declining union influence. The first state to enshrine collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin represents the victorious battleground of the statehouse against the union hall.
Congratulations to Governor Walker and Wisconsin voters, both Democrats and Republicans, who supported comprehensive reforms of collective bargaining rights. Walker's example will embolden state leaders to save their statehouses from the crippling public sector unions and the creeping pension obligations weighing on taxpayers across the United States.