Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wisconsin court upholds anti-labor law

Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker

Source: Press TV

A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld an anti-union law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature back in March despite a massive public outrage.

The controversial measure, which sparked weeks of protests when Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker signed it, strips most public employees of their collective bargaining rights, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on the state capitol for weeks and Democratic senators fled the state to avert a vote last March.

On Tuesday, the State Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open meetings law when they passed the legislation in March.

However, the 68-page decision reflected the sharp divide in the high court as some dissidents opposed it.

The controversial law eliminates most collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public workers and requires them to pay more for pensions and health coverage. The move has prompted a national debate over unions.

Walker welcomed Tuesday's judgment, saying the measure was needed to help the state fix its finances. It "provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again," he added.

While the governor might have won the battle for the time being, there is little doubt that the controversy has helped shift public focus to collective-bargaining rights and the economic health of the middle class.

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