[author: Katanya Royster, XpertHR Legal Editor]
The Dane County Circuit court struck down most of Act 10, Wisconsin's so called "anti-union" law. The court ruled that the law violated the US and state constitutions because it impermissibly burdened employees' associational rights, as well as their right to free speech.
Act 10, introduced by governor Scott Walker shortly after he took office, limits collective bargaining rights in several aspects, including by:
Prohibiting municipal and school district employees from bargaining with general employees on any issue except wages;
Requiring a referendum on wage increases in excess of cost of living for represented municipal employees;
Establishing certain certification and recertification rights on general employee unions; and
Prohibiting payroll deduction of dues for general employee unions.
The court's Friday, September 14th ruling impacts county, municipal and school district employees, but does not impact state employees. For impacted employees, their preexisting collective bargaining rights are reinstated. The law, however, remains in effect for state employees, who were not a party to the lawsuit.
Labor activist groups are hailing Friday's decision as a victory for Wisconsin's workers. However, in a statement issued on the day of the decision, governor Walker stated, "Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the law making responsibilities of the legislature and the governor." Hinting of an upcoming appeal, Walker continued on to say, "We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process".