Wisconsin Judge Rules in Favor of Unions

Labor's win in Wisconsin signals support for unions nationally, including Chicago's teachers.

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In the shadow of the Chicago Teachers Union strike, a new decision made by a Wisconsin judge holds national resonance. In March 2011, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spearheaded the passage of a law that in effect worked to break labor unions in his state. In response, employees from across the Wisconsin, and some from around the country, met to protest the law in the state last year. On Friday, more than one year later, large parts of Walker's law have been ruled unconstitutional by a state judge, reports CNN.

A challenge to the law was brought against Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission by two labor unions representing education and municipal employees.

Passed and signed in March 2011, the law restricts the rights of public employee unions to bargain collectively.

It also closed a $137 million hole the state budget and required many public workers - except police and firefighters - to pay more for their retirement and health benefits.

The suit claims the law restricts employees' free speech, due process and association rights, and violates certain labor regulations. It also argued the Legislature did not have the authority to consider this law during the special legislative session in which it was passed.

Colas found that the law was not passed in violation of restrictions placed on special legislative sessions nor violated the constitutional due process protection.

But it did violate the employees' association and speech rights, Colas ruled.

Read more at CNN.

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