On Friday, major portions of a Wisconsin law signed in 2011, which restricts the rights of public employee unions to collectively bargain was ruled unconstitutional by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan B. Colas.  The law only allowed for collective bargaining of public employees for wage increases no greater than the rate of inflation. All other issues, including workplace safety, vacation, and health benefits, were items that could no longer be bargained for or considered during negotiations.

The suit, brought by public employees of the City of Milwaukee and the Madison School District, claims the law restricts employees’ free speech, due process and association rights, and violates certain labor regulations. It also argued the Legislature did not have the authority to consider this law during the special legislative session in which it was passed.

While Judge Colas found that the law did not violate the restrictions on special legislative sessions nor did it violate the constitutional due process protection, he did find that the law violated the employees’ association and speech rights.

Judge Colas wrote that the law serves to “single out and encumber the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and association guaranteed by both the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions.”

Gov. Scott Walker, who actively supported the passage of the law, stated that his office would appeal the ruling and is seeking the Court’s permission to keep enforcing the law during the appeal process.

VIA Associated Press