US district Court Judge William Conley ruled today that portions of Walker’s law stripping public sector unions of their bargaining rights was unconstitutional. The court found those provisions violated the union members’ First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers like police and firefighters.
“So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights,” wrote Judge Conley.
The provisions struck down were those requiring annual certification elections by an absolute majority of employees and those precluding voluntary dues deductions through the employer. The matter involving recertification elections was recently highlighted by a decision by a 2 to 1 decision by the pro-management Walker appointees to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission who ruled that a vote in Wauwatosa by Educational Support Professionals to recertify by a vote of 50.967% could not be rounded up to 51% and therefore the union was not recertified even though a majority of its members voted to do so.
The court also refocused attention on Governor Walker’s radical over reach by pointing out that the law at least has the appearance of being drafted to punish workers for their decisions to oppose the Governor’s election and reward those who supported him. For example the Governor found Capitol police who protect the capitol by endorsed the Governor’s opponent to be general employees and stripped of their bargaining rights. However state vehicle inspectors whose union endorsed the Governor and presumably have less responsibility for maintaining public safety were exempted and allowed to continue their full bargaining rights.
The bottom, line, these changes have stripped our members of due process rights and rights to bargain fully and freely over wages, hours and conditions of employment. The resulting cuts to our members have been devastating to their budgets and hit newer and younger staff the hardest as they will not and have not progressed through the salary schedule as those who came before them. For the full decision go to : wispolitics.com/1006/https___e…