Judge Blocks Wisconsin Law Curbing Unions

MADISON, Wis. (CBS) — A Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked the new law restricting unions’ collective bargaining.

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi blocked Gov. Scott Walker’s law that ended collective bargaining for most public employees, CBS News reported.

Sumi issued the order at the request of District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat. He filed a lawsuit contending that a legislative committee that broke a stalemate over the issue met without the 24-hour notice required by Wisconsin’s open meetings law.

The state’s 14 Senate Democrats had left to hide out in Illinois, thus preventing the quorum required for the state Senate to vote on bills involving spending money. The legislation curbing unions had been part of Walker’s budget proposal.

After a few weeks, the Republicans took all the spending measures out of the legislation, but kept in the provision to restrict collective bargaining rights for state employees. The Senate passed the bill a short time later without the Democrats.

The state Assembly passed the bill soon afterward, and Walker signed it into law.

Meanwhile, the Republican senators placed their Democratic colleagues in contempt, and warned that police might be sent to return them forcibly to Madison.

The senators returned on their own after the bill passed. But state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said the 14 Democrats remained in contempt, and thus while they could attend hearings, listen and speak, their votes will not count.

Fitzgerald spokesman Andrew Welhouse said earlier this week that Democrats will remain in contempt until they attend a session. None is scheduled this week.

The new law forbids most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation. It also requires public workers to pay more toward their pensions and double their health insurance contribution, a combination equivalent to an 8 percent pay cut for the average worker.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jim

    I’m very willing to trade Walker for Quinn. Walker is standing up to corruption while Quinn is embracing it.

    • Tom

      Then move to Wisconsin, we don’t want you either.

      • Jim

        I take it you have a public job Tom and are benefiting from the corruption. Everyone that I know that voted for Quinn is saying how much he has lied and that they would never vote for him again. Based on Quinns’ small margin of victory I would say that you are in the minority now my friend. Hopefully the next governor can dig us out of this enormous hole that Quinn is putting us in.

    • Karen

      I’m not. Go Quinn and loved his comment that Walker should be ashamed of himself for taking away people’s right to organize. Also, Walker’s tricky move of driving up the deficit after giving away $115 million in tax breaks to corporations and now asking teachers to carry the burden of this by not being able to bargain collectively is helpful to no one but perhaps the billionaire Koch brothers. He does not really care about WI and balancing the budget but is simply an ideologue trying to bust unions. And, in addition to demonizing teachers and cutting their salaries, what about his brillant plan to cut $900 million from the education system? Just in the era of China and 17 other foreign countries surpassing us in education. These moves will certainly drive the most talented teachers away from being educators, We can only hope they will come to Illinois and not leave the teaching field all together! This man was bought and paid for. The best Gov. a billionaire could buy.

    • Karen

      Teachers are corrupt?? And Walker standing up to corruption…did you hear his punk’d crank call with who he thought was bilionaire Koch brother? He refused to talk to anyone, but was so thrilled to talk to his benefactor…blabbed all of his dirty tricks to him. He also has a slick million dollar bus paid for by all special interest groups to take him around the state to lobby people about the union busting bill. How is that standing up to corruption. It is corruption. Since when are teachers a big corruption problem. What are you talking about?

  • SAM

    This judge is an idiot. All he is doing is rewarding the childish actions of Democratic law makers.

    • Karen

      Sorry, buddy. There was a law in place that calls for a 24 hour announcement before legislation, let alone something as contentious as this. This was illegal, not to mention a dirty trick. I thought right-wingers are adamant about the constitution and the law-NOPE, only when it serves their interests. This judge was appointed by a Republican and is a Republican. You should be happy there is one Republican out there that does not let ideology blind them to justice.

  • bigtime sucker

    ok disecting this wisconisin law

    do not have raises beyond inflation rate: i can deal with that, live within your means, public should spend within their means
    pay more into pension, as long as the pensions remain in tact, again live within your means i am lukewarm about that
    pay double into health insurance, that is ridiculous
    health care isn’t a privledge it’s a right and the state should do whatever to make sure that the people that work for them are taken care of. i draw the line there

    • Karen

      And, the teachers/workers AGREED to all of the increases in wages and increased payments to benefit, which equal an 8 percent pay cut. And, that is not easy for anyone, especially those just barely in what is considered middle class. They AGREED to this, which is how we know Scott Walker does not truly care about fixing the budget or being a leader. He simply wants to bust the unions to eliminate them as a force helpful to Democrats in elections. He even said so on an interview with Fox. Unions are the only counter to all of the corporate special interest groups. In 2010, only 2 out of the top 10 groups were for dems and they were unions,. The rest and the biggest were corporate special interest groups

      • The Truth

        So you agree with the unions helping to BUY democrats into office??? You are a fool !!! These unions you vow allegiance to are as corrput if not MORE CORRUPT then those “evil” corporations!!!!

  • bigtime sucker

    and what michigan is doing isn’t shrinking government,it’s just an absolute moron being a tyranical guerilla. there is a place for him at the brookfield zoo, not in their state capital

  • bigtime sucker

    how about this, don’t know how pheasable it is in execution but on philosophy it makes sense to me

    propose a corporate tax cut, starting at 5% and match it to the growth of work force. so if company grows it’s work force by 5%,t hey get a 5% tax cut, if they grow it at 15% they get a 15% tax cut, cap it at 20% and you create an environment in which businesses want to come here, they will all hire, people will work, they will spend, corps get their taxes lowered, and the cost won’t overly burden the lowest income bracket.

  • swizzle

    block it, and then rule it unconstitutional. Lets destroy the Republican anti american agenda once and for all.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/03/25/ind-prosecutor-quits-after-e-mails-about-wis-protesters/ Ind. Prosecutor Quits After E-Mails About Wis. Protesters « CBS Chicago

    […] But last week, a judge blocked the law, following a lawsuit filed on the grounds that the vote by th… […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/03/28/union-membership-way-up-among-illinois-employees/ Union Membership Way Up Among Illinois Employees « CBS Chicago

    […] Despite protests that went on for weeks and the 14 Democratic state senators hiding out in Illinois to forestall a vote, lawmakers passed the bill and Walker signed it into law. Republicans published the law over the weekend, despite a temporary restraining order by a judge following a lawsuit by Democrats. […]

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