Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wisconsin Court Strikes Down Anti-Union Law

In State of Wisconsin et al., v. Scott Fitzgerald, et al., Case No. 11CV1244, a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge struck down Wisconsin’s anti-union law, deciding the state Legislature passed the law in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law.

In Wisconsin, Republicans in the state senate passed the "Budget Repair Law" less than two hours after announcing the vote, preventing Democrats who left the state to prevent a quorum, from returning in time. However, the Open Meetings Law requires at least two hours’ notice before the Legislature can vote on a bill.

The judge’s ruling does not affect the merits of the law and state Republicans could cure the defects by re-voting on the legislation.

Wisconsin’s “Budget Repair Law” makes it nearly impossible for public-sector unions to exist. Under the bill, unions cannot negotiate about benefits or working conditions and wage increases are capped at the rate of inflation. Members must also vote to keep their union every year. Under the law, union members do not have to pay their fair share, local governments cannot deduct dues, and state workers can stop paying dues at any time.