Walker, union attorney react to collective bargaining ruling - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Walker, union attorney react to collective bargaining ruling

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Governor Scott Walker is talking about collective bargaining one day after a judge overturned most of the controversial law he championed.

The law was put into effect more than a year ago and stripped most public workers of their right to collectively bargain with employers.

Walker says that changed helped the state balance its budget, but opponents say he took away a right that is guaranteed by the constitution.

The bill sparked protests and lead to a recall effort against the governor, that he survived.

Now, this latest ruling is bringing collective bargaining back to the center of debate.

"Ultimately we're going to see this upheld when it gets to the supreme court," Governor Walker said after the ruling came down.

He told a reporter Friday night that Dane County Judge Juan Colas' ruling that parts of the collective bargaining bill are unconstitutional is wrong.

"I think you've got an activist judge in Dane County like you've seen so many times in the past," he said.

But union lawyers representing two groups of public workers who filed the lawsuit against the bill disagree.

"The courts of this state are non-partisan. The judges are non-partisan," said attorney Lester Pines who represents the Madison Teachers Union.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says the collective bargaining law should stay in place. He released a statement saying, "We believe that Act 10 is constitutional in all respects and we will be appealing this decision."

Meantime, some democratic lawmakers said this ruling is a step in the right direction and hope an effort to appeal the decision won't succeed.

"I firmly believe that what Governor Walker did with Act 10 was unconstitutional and a lot of people in the state did too and this judge basically backs up what a lot of us had thought," State Senator Jon Erpenbach said.

It's still unclear what the status of the law is. Pines said the ruling means the collective bargaining law is null and void, but AG Van Hollen said Saturday that he hopes to keep the law in place until the appeals process is finished.

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