Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Act 10 union law, “It will affect all of us”

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MADISON (WITI) -- An historic day in the Wisconsin Supreme Court as decisions on three major cases are released. Virtually everyone in the state is affected -- and the biggest decision handed down relates to Governor Scott Walker's controversial Act 10.

The long legal battle over Act 10 is over. The law has been upheld in its entirety by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision.

It was the law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers. It produced massive protests, political upheaval and a spate of legal challenges.

On Thursday, it came to an end with the Supreme Court's final word on Act 10.

The lawsuit was brought by Madison Teachers Incorporated and a union representing Milwaukee city employees. Those unions argued that Act 10 violated their constitutional rights to freedom of association and equal protection under the law -- but the court rejected those arguments.

Writing for the majority, Justice Michael Gabelman said: "Collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation."

Former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske says the decision has broad implications.

"It will affect all of us in the state. It's a big development in the history of the development of law in Wisconsin," Geske said.

The only dissenting votes were from the court's two liberal stalwarts: Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

"Act 10 will continue to be the law of the land going forward. The state's highest court has affirmed that.  We've proven there's been about $3 billion of savings for the hardworking taxpayers of the state," Governor Scott Walker said.

Act 10 is done as a legal issue on the state level, but it remains a highly-charged campaign issue, and Governor Walker quickly pivoted to the political implications.

"Act 10 works. Our reforms work. It is a clear contrast between what we would do -- affirm that going forward -- and if we elected somebody new who would chip away with that," Governor Walker said.

His likely opponent, Democratic candidate Mary Burke has not said she would repeal Act 10 outright, but says she would work to restore collective bargaining rights to the state's public workers.

"I support the right to collectively bargain. I don't believe that that stands in the way that we have efficient, effective and accountable government," Burke said.

Governor Walker argues that without the collective bargaining reforms, the $3 billion saved would evaporate.

"That's not true. I have said I think it's only fair top have contributions to pensions and to health care, but we also have to make sure we attract and keep people in our public sector," Burke said.

Governor Walker won the legal victory on Thursday, but he quickly acknowledged that he needs a political victory in November to ensure that his reforms stay firmly in place.

So Act 10, and its wide-ranging impact will likely remain at the forefront of public discussion for the remainder of the campaign.

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19 comments

  • Melissa Thomas

    You teach because you have a passion to make a difference in children. NOT to make huge benefits or have summers off.

  • sandman54862

    Only in Wisconsin do corporations have free speech and union workers do not. Fred Kochs mother Russian ideals brought to you by the Koch brothers. next is slave labor and incarcerate everyone.

  • Hooptie Pete

    Sandman what are you talking about? How does restricting fringe benefits have to do with freedom of speech? You guys with your same nonsense over and over again. You lost welcome to the ranks of everyone else. I am sorry that a union garbage man or teacher has to face the same harsh reality as everyone else.

    Funny how you compare anyone to Russia when you guy Obama is destroying the country. He can keep setting all the precedent he wants with the executive actions because when conservatives return to power we’re gonna do the same and I don’t want to hear any crying from you sandman…. Laugh now, cry later my friend…

  • sandman54862

    In you America. In reagan`s and the 9% your pro stalin koch not American. This is reagan on walkers collective bargaining, He says it is a essencial part of any democracy Commy Reagan calling walker and kochs ideals communist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsHXJr8tqP0 Reagan as pro American and against Russian communism opposite of todays Russian tea baggers who claim to have been in America.

  • Fla3463

    Sandman, it’s hard to take anything you write seriously if you cannot complete a reasonable sentence or even express coherent thoughts.

    • sandman54862

      why are you against citizen rule instaed of devine king rule ? Koch/ alec writes all walkers acts / bills and does not allow even legislatures input let alone the people.s input. That is call communism and is why 99% of our ansestors came to America, The same reason people are leaving your Russian homeland. Citizen rule is called democracy. free to speak or bargain is a right of ever man if you live in a free society. I must ask do you also live in a bunker to say warm in Russia.
      how amny rubbles are you paid to post your comments. you can not counterdict facts only cut on the messager a typical village idiot response. Please post in Russia not here

  • sandman54862

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsHXJr8tqP0 this shows collective bargaining is part of a democracy in Reagans own words. Without you do not have free speech. I know you called me an idiot for saying this so please call Reagan one to then. I do not have translation software like you. I live in America so my slow computer does not have all the bells. I do not have a Koch computer to post comments like their paid supports. Americans know better. John wayne taught American children by 4 years old the evil land baron and bribed scared governor is evil. he saved the people from walker and Koch in every movie. I understand Russian not understanding so please post in your Moscow outlet. This is in America. Do you know who Reagan even was? you know nothing about free speech or democracy as Reagan explains. walker is letting Koch win the cold war

  • diane

    Andaman…why should a teacher or a garbage man have any more rights than…any other hard working citizen…teachers. have it made anyway…paid time off in the summer limited work hours.etc….every job has its pro s and cons….get in with it o bummer….is a sham..of a . Leader has no respect. Or little if any…around the globe. …we are in the dire straits..we are in because of him and the dumb.o crats….quit ur belly aching…get to work

  • CP

    Welcome to the real world county employees, you don’t get to change every little thing you do not like and you are not entitled to everything because you work for the county. Do your job and be happy you even have one.

  • Idon'twanttopayforyourretirement

    WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAA we have to pay our own way. I want to drink the tears of the lazy union thugs.

  • Hooptie Pete

    Not everyone in a union is lazy but for far too long the unions had the liberals at the troughs and in return got sweet heart deals. On the flip side when things were good no one wanted to be a garbage man everyone wanted a dot com business, lots of cocaine and a car phone. So in trouble times we shouldn’t burn the civil servants at a stake because they still have what we lost. Somewhere along the way things got out of hand and Act 10 reeled them in. When everyone always gets the same raise the competitiveness to be better is lost.

    Sandman I think you need to put the foil helmet back on before the Koch brothers still your waves through the television…. Lastly George Soros is 1000x worse than the Koch Brothers but since he’s a liberal I guess that makes it ok.

  • jimduncun

    Here is the part I have a problem with…walker goes after the democratic party ..it isn’t about saving money for the state he targeted unions and financial support. ..Fitzgerald is on record on fox news that the target was Obama in 2012 in Wisconsin and he still won…my wife works in the private sector compare apples to oranges…public sector doesn’t get corporate earnings …I get no bonuses none…as for you paying my retirement…aren’t I paying your retirement when I purchase goods and services from your private company..dont bash public workers if you think were so lazy and unimportant than come to the public sector..I bet u enjoy nice roads …your brush picked up…your streets plowed in the winter…low cost electric and water.. police and good teachers

    • 2econd

      yea, and Obama and his liberal cronies don’t target conservative groups, nice argument jimdumcun, to bad it has no merit. hooptie, maybe you would like to jump in and school dumcun!, Im sick of trying to reason w/ idiot liberals

      • sandman54862

        they went after law breakers. The john doe was called frivoulis yet it convicted walkers pals of child enticement. I know drunks condone drinking druggies condone drugs why are the republicans calling child enticement a witch hunt

  • ralphiei55

    Several things are wrong here. How can public unions be affected but NOT firefighters and cops? Has your personal property taxes gone down? Has your school district reduced pension, medical contributions, and retirement requirements? Here’s what is going to happen. There will be a huge teacher shortage (hiring has already seen an increase in out of state workers – suckers), resulting in larger (than already) classrooms, which means more pupils per instructor, which means lower test scores. But the conservatives consider this a victory only. LOOK WHAT WE’VE DONE. AREN’T WE GREAT. VOTE FOR ME!

  • Dirk

    The unions were ripping off the state of Wisconsin for years, Doyle got a huge kick back on the health insurance scam and then took off. Who in there right mind would sign a monopoly deal without getting a kickback and screw the taxpayers out of thousands of dollars. If anything Act10 was worth the savings on the cost of the health insurance.

  • jimduncun

    2econd just because I work in the public sector doesn’t make me a liberal u piece of sh.t…just stating my opinion and views

Comments are closed.