Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s signature labor law that effectively ended collective bargaining has been struck down by a Wisconsin judge this week. The law violates both state and federal law, according to Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas. The law was so controversial in the state that is led to a recall of the governor, which he managed to survive. The Walker administration has vowed to appeal the decision.
Governor Walker, a Republican, claims to have passed the law in order to cut spending and save the government money. Democrats say the law was intended to weaken unions, who are big backers of the Democratic Party. Anti-union measures have been pushed in other states as well. They have met stiff resistance in some spots, notably Ohio.
The collective bargaining changes led to massive protests in Wisconsin and garnered national attention. The state was seen as the front line of a Republican war on public workers and unions. Republicans had already won a huge victory in 2010 with the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which allowed unlimited donations to PACs from corporations and unions. The move by Governor Walker was seen as a way to take away the Democratic gains from that decision by greatly weakening public sector unions. Private sector unions have shriveled in the past few decades.
The law made Scott Walker a hero among conservatives, who have long opposed unions. Republicans have long been the party of big business, believing in the supply side theory of economics which places great importance on relaxing any strains on business owners. This line of thinking has dominated American politics since the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan enacted his historic tax cuts.
A battle that was once thought dead has now be reignited. The collective bargaining law has implications that go beyond just the public worker’s rights in Wisconsin. If public unions are weakened, then the Democratic Party will be weakened as well. This case will be an important one to watch. The future of American politics could be determined by how it goes down.