On Friday, a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Scott Walker's public sector union-busting Act 10 in its entirety. In a 2-1 decision, the majority decided that the evidence presented by the unions claiming violation of their first amendment rights of free speech and association didn't meet the standards required by constitutional law.

There are three active court cases challenging Act 10. This decision overturns the ruling made last March by U.S. District Judge William Conley, which voided two parts of the law: The prohibition on most public sector unions from collecting voluntary dues through payroll deductions, and the annual re-certification requirement for those unions.

While agreeing that Act 10 was politically motivated, Judges William Bauer and Joel Flaum argued, "As unfortunate as it may be, political favoritism is a frequent aspect of legislative action. These sorts of decisions are left for the next election."

In a dissenting opinion that supported the plaintiffs' claim that excluding certain "public safety" unions that had endorsed Walker for Governor from the law violated their constitutional rights, Judge David Hamilton wrote, "Perhaps a strike by motor vehicle inspectors might threaten the breakdown of public order and state government, but it's hard to see how. It's especially hard to see how the threat of a strike by motor vehicle inspectors could reasonably be deemed more significant than a strike by, say, correctional officers or many other law enforcement officers excluded by the new law."

Meanwhile, two other cases are wending their way through the state court system. In Madison Teachers, Inc., et. al. vs. Scott Walker, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas found five provisions of Act 10 unconstitutional:

This provision that prohibits bargaining with general municipal employee unions over the issue of wages but only "total base wages" up to a Consumer Price Index cap and specifically excluded bargaining over any other compensation including overtime, premium pay, merit pay, and other forms of compensation.

The provision that requires that referendum be held before the employer could bargain regarding increase in total base wages above the CPI cap.

The statutory definition of "fair share" agreements that limited them to apply to only transit employee and public safety unions.

The provisions that restrict an employer from deducting union dues from employee pay and then remitting payment to the Union, and also required annual recertification elections of unions.

The provision that requires a pension contribution of the employee share by City of Milwaukee employees to the City's pension System.

This case, 2012AP002067, is currently on appeal and in the process of briefings.

The other case was filed last November by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association and is scheduled for a status hearing at the end of the month.

The WLEA complaint alleges that certain "provisions of Act 10 and Act 32 violate their associational, speech, petition and advocacy rights guaranteed by Art. I, §§ 3 & 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution, as well as their rights to equal protection under the law, as guaranteed by Art. I, § 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution."

This lawsuit may be even stronger than the MTI and Public Employees Local 61 case since it involves members of the very same union being treated differently under the law.

Rebecca Kemble reports for The Progressive magazine and website.

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A thoughtful, optimistic, progressive speech about the better possibilities of American democracy just as the most...

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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