The decision was written by Joel Flaum, an appellate judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan. It was joined by appellate judge Ilana Rover, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and by Virginia Kendall, who normally serves as a federal district court judge in northern Illinois and who was appointed by President George W. Bush.Act 10 prohibits local and state governments from bargaining anything other than wages (up to the level of inflation), payroll deduction of union dues, among other things. Essentially, Act 10 was aimed at destroying public employee unions except for firefighters and law enforcement unions which were allowed to keep full bargaining rights. Those exempt unions were the only public employee unions to endorse Scott Walker in his 2010 Gubernatorial election.
Even worse, public employee unions cannot be even recognized unless they receive 51% or more from all potential members. Any union member who doesn't vote is counted as a "no" vote. If this were applied to political elections, we wouldn't have any elected officials at all because a majority of ALL voters would never be achieved.
The unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel upheld a September decision by U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison that the law known as Act 10 does not infringe on the constitutional rights of government workers to freedom of speech and association and equal protection under the law.Basically, they ruled that because Act 10 prohibits the actions of government officials rather than unions, it passes constitutional muster despite the impact of the law.
In essence, the decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago found that Walker's law is constitutional because it targets the actions of government officials and not those of union members.
"(Act 10) does not proscribe any conduct by the unions themselves. It does not prohibit the unions from forming. It does not forbid them from meeting. Nor does it prevent the unions from advocating on behalf of their members in any way they see fit," the ruling reads.
Bruce Ehlke, the attorney for the unions, said he needed to review the decision thoroughly and talk with his clients before deciding on whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.Considering the series of corporate decisions on our current RW US Supreme Court, the future looks bleak.
But Elke said the appellate court's ruling should disturb anyone concerned about whether government officials are responsive to public groups such as neighborhood associations. That's because Act 10 forbids officials from making certain responses to union requests, he said.
"It's very disappointing but it's also very disturbing," Ehlke said. "That concept applies to any group."
While Democrats have spent decades looking for bipartisanship, Republicans have been successfully packing the appeals and federal courts. The law no longer belongs to the people or the interests of people anymore. It's all about politics and keeping the interests of extremists and corporations front and center.
It was Act 10 that brought tens of thousands of protesters to Madison in 2011 and led to the 14 State Senate Democrats fleeing the state to prevent the quorum necessary for Act 10 to be rammed through the State Senate.
It's also Part 1 of what Walker promised billionaire Diane Hendricks when he spoke of his "divide and conquer" strategy to bring her the Right to Work (i.e. complete union busting) she wanted.
It's a sad day here.