Legal and political battle over collective bargaining continues - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Legal and political battle over collective bargaining continues

Dane County (WQOW/WISN) - The legal and political battle over collective bargaining continues.

A Dane County judge has ruled against the state law that strongly limits collective bargaining rights for most public workers. Unions are declaring victory while Governor Scott walker is vowing an appeal.

From massive protests at Wisconsin's capitol to the ongoing legal battle, the fight against Wisconsin's limits on collective bargaining for government workers took a new turn Friday. A Dane County judge struck down most of it.

Attorney Nicol Padway represents some of Milwaukee's union city workers.

"Our employees work for us, we give our employees our word that we will abide by certain terms and conditions of employment, we have an obligation as a government to stand by our word," says Padway.

"I think the judge got it wrong," says Rick Esenberg, a Marquette University Law Professor.

Esenberg is the president and general council for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. Esenberg represented some public employees who did not want to be forced to join a union. He says the judge's ruling against Act 10 will be appealed by the state.

"Of all the various arguments that have been made regarding Act 10 I don't think this is a particularly strong one. The courts have held consistently, that there is no constitutional right, no fundamental right to collective bargaining," says Esenberg.

So there will be appeals, and requests the legal impact of the judge's ruling be put on hold until the appeal process plays out all the way to the state supreme court.

"And we cannot through a legislative process, which is what Governor Walker and the legislature attempted to do, go back on our word to our people," Padway says.

"I think you've got an activist judge in Dane County like you've seen so many times in the past. ultimately we're confident that when it comes to the court of appeals and the supreme court the law will be upheld," said Governor Walker Friday night.  

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he will seek permission to enforce the law while his office appeals.

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