Remember Scott Walker? He's the governor of Wisconsin and the front man in the Republican Party's conspiracy to outlaw public sector unions. After purposely dividing Wisconsin's electorate with his 'end collective bargaining for public sector workers' law, Mr. Walker survived a recall election which he took as a vindication of his take-no-prisoners leadership style.
Now it seems that Walker's 'end collective bargaining' law has been found to be....unconstitutional.
Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void.
In his 27-page ruling, the judge said sections of the law "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."
Colas also said the law violates the equal protection clause by creating separate classes of workers who are treated differently and unequally.
Collective bargaining is protected under the umbrella of the first amendment. Specifically targeting one group of Wisconsinites (public sector union workers).....and denying or limiting their first amendment guarantee of free speech in the work place, Judge Colas said, "violates the equal protection clause"...it "creates separate classes of workers who are treated differently and unequally."
If I didn't know better, I would think that the judge was saying Scott Walker and his band of union-busters were waging illegal class warfare. Of course, that can't be right....because it's only President Obama who is dividing Americans.
Naturally, Mr. Walker's response to the ruling was filled with wisdom and profundities....
Walker issued a statement accusing the judge of being a "liberal activist" who "wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process."
It is Walker and his Tea Party Tantrum throwers who would take Wisconsin, and the nation, "backwards"......to 19th century America, when collective bargaining and union organization was non-existent and America had no middle class. Tea Partiers have repeatedly explained to us that their goal is to "take their country back." In Wisconsin, those words have been made flesh, as it were, for all to witness. Taking their country back means the elimination of organized labor...starting first with public sector workers unions.
It is much more than a coincidence that as union membership in the U.S. has dwindled from 35% of the workforce in 1954 to 12% of the total workforce today.....that wages for workers have declined or remained stagnant over the same period.
This slow elimination of good-paying union jobs, union jobs which helped create and sustain a robust middle class for decades....has exacerbated our current nagging jobs recession. How so? Union jobs pay higher wages than non-union jobs. Therefore, the more union jobs America has, the more consumer demand America has. And a lack of consumer demand is what is dragging on the national economy.
I'm a realist. I understand that the oligarchs who rule us will never allow collective bargaining to be resurgent ever again in America. Right-to-work-for-less is the battle cry of too many folks on the conservative side and even the GOP presidential candidate stated he would like to see some national form of right-to-work-for-less. The timid "card-check" legislation never saw the light of political day....and there aren't enough progressives in Congress to change the dynamic.
But at least for now we can take heart that Wisconsin Judge Colas slapped down the anti-labor ambitions of the reprehensible Scott Walker as unconstitutional. Of all the Tea Party governors....Walker is the most deserving of a good slap down.
So here's to you, Wisconsin Judge Juan Colas......at least for now, your ruling renews our faith in the ongoing American experiment.
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