Reactions to Wisconsin’s union law being upheld

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (WLUK/Don Steffens)
Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (WLUK/Don Steffens)

MADISON (AP) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the 2011 law championed by Gov. Scott Walker – known as Act 10 – that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers. The following quotes are reactions to the decision:

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Gov. Scott Walker: “Act 10 has saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion. Today’s ruling is a victory for those hard-working taxpayers.”

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Joe Zepecki, spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke: “Mary supports the right of workers to collectively bargain, and believes that the concessions on health care and pension were fair, but should have been reached through the collective bargaining process. She knows that collective bargaining rights don’t stand in the way of effective, accountable government, and that working together is the best way to address the challenges we face.”

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Rep. Brett Hulsey: “This partisan decision by a packed GOP state Supreme Court takes away worker’s rights to bargain for a safe place to work. It underscores the need to vote for me in Aug. 12th primary. As governor, I will call a special session of the Legislature on day one to restore workers’ rights, health care and retirement.”

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Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald: “After months of protests and costly recalls that Governor Walker, many of my Senate colleagues and I myself survived to retain control over the Statehouse, I hope that this added legal victory can allow us to finally lay the fight surrounding Act 10 to rest. The people and the courts have spoken: Act 10 is here to stay and Wisconsin is moving in the right direction.”

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Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos: “Act 10 continues to have a positive impact in Wisconsin. The law has moved Wisconsin forward, billions of tax dollars have been saved, and local governments now have the flexibility needed to balance their budgets. Today we once again hear from the courts that Act 10 is constitutional through and through.”

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State Sen. Chris Larson, Democratic Senate minority leader: “Their opinion will continue to negatively impact communities across Wisconsin by limiting the freedom of our hard-working neighbors to negotiate with their employers for fair wages and safe working conditions.”

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State Rep. Peter Barca, Democratic Assembly minority leader: “Wisconsin’s proud history of protecting workers rights is marred by Walker and Republicans’ dismantling of collective bargaining for our public sector workers. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is extremely disappointing for the teachers, nurses, prison guards, and other professionals who serve the public each day.”

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Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce president Kurt Bauer: “Act 10 is a landmark achievement for Wisconsin. It has saved taxpayers billions and it has saved public employee jobs. Act 10 has also helped improve Wisconsin’s business climate by removing the threat of tax and fee increases caused by deficits.”

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Betsy Kippers, president of the state’s largest teachers union, Wisconsin Education Association Council: “Wisconsin educators are disappointed, but no court ruling can take away their right to organize through a union. We are assessing how the ruling will impact our members and any options available. Here’s one thing everybody should know: No law or legal ruling will ever stop us from remaining Wisconsin’s loudest collective voice for students and public schools.”

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Madison teachers union executive director John Matthews: “Gov. Walker said he would divide and conquer public employees and he did with Act 10. Now his conservative supporters on the Supreme Court said what he did in acting to divide and conquer is constitutional.”

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American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest state employee union: “Act 10 has caused incalculable damage to the state economy and the public workplace. It has driven thousands of dedicated employees away from public service. It’s not the Wisconsin way, and ultimately it will not stand.”

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