WISCONSIN- (WFRV) The most controversial law enacted in Wisconsin during the Scott Walker administration, has been upheld by a federal appeals court in Chicago. That law, Act 10, stripped most public employees of most collective bargaining rights.
Earlier today a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, released a ruling stating Act 10 is constitutional. Suffice it to say - the ruling is a blow to those fighting to reverse the law; many on the basis of constitutionality.
In 2011 several large statewide unions, challenged the law on those grounds. Last March, a U.S. district judge overturned portions of the law, requiring unions to hold yearly elections to remain certified and prohibiting unions from automatically collecting dues. Today's ruling by the court of appeals reversed that March ruling and declares the law, in its entirety, constitutional. Reaction has been widespread to the ruling.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who handled the appeal for the state said, "Today's decision by the Seventh Circuit confirms what I have stated from the beginning. Act 10 is constitutional."
Local 5 caught up with Gov. Walker in Oshkosh shortly after the ruling was announced. "The real winners are the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin, who now can have the people they elect be in charge - not a handful of government driven, special interests," Gov. Walker said.
Many Democrats were obviously disappointed by the ruling. Senator Dave Hansen , (D)-Green Bay, released a statement. "The right of workers to organize is one that should be enjoyed by all workers and the 7th District Court's failure to recognize this is extremely disappointing."
The Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Mike Tate reacted saying "We continue to believe that Scott Walker's Act 10 is divisive, harmful and polarizing policy, that sought to reward Walker's political allies at the expense of working Wisconsin families."
Where this goes next, is unknown. The unions could ask the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision, or try to go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a Dane County judge struck down parts of Act 10 in September and that case is currently in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Today's federal court ruling has no impact on that state case.