An appeals court in Wisconsin this week upheld a lower court's decision to block parts of a controversial anti-union law.Last September, Dane County Judge Juan Colas struck down as unconstitutional portions of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10, the 2011 law that sparked an uproar by limiting collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Colas said Act 10 treated union and non-union workers differently, and infringed upon free speech, free association and equal protection rights.The state attorney general requested that Colas allow the law to go into effect while the decision was appealed, but Colas refused, and now a three-judge panel has agreed. Until the state Supreme Court hears a full appeal of the initial ruling, Wisconsin state employees will retain their collective bargaining rights.From PR Watch: Multiple challenges to Act 10 have been filed in state and federal court since it became law in 2011. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed a decision that found provisions of Act 10 unconstitutional, likely foreclosing further federal challenges. The decision by Judge Colas is in state court. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which has received funding from foundations controlled by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch (who backed Walker's election), filed amicus briefs in many of the cases. A spokesperson for Attorney General Van Hollen said the state is considering whether to appeal the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. One of the justices in the Supreme Court's 4-3 conservative majority, Justice Pat Roggensack, is up for reelection in April; this case could further raise the stakes in an already contested race.
Camille Beredjick is a student of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a Spring 2013 ITT intern.