by Paul Kersey
Director of Labor Policy
Associated Press is reporting that Dane County Circuit Court judge Juan Colas has ruled that Wisconsin’s labor reform law is invalid. As this moment it is unclear whether the ruling suspends the law immediately.
The Wisconsin labor reform package placed tight limits on the scope of collective bargaining for most government employees, ensured that workers would have the right to vote on removing the union annually, and allowed workers to decide individually whether a union would receive their financial support. The law was the subject of intense political protests by unions, who at one point physically occupied the state capitol building, but was eventually passed and signed by Governor Scott Walker.
Judge Colas’ decision is likely to be reversed on appeal by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, meaning that the labor reform package should be reinstated. The case law is quite clear that collective bargaining is permitted, but not required under the federal constitution and most state constitutions.