Thursday proved to be a victory for Wisconsin public employees when Judge Maryann Sumi of Dane Circuit Court ruled against the Republican state senators’ March 9 vote on Assembly Bill 11, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights and detrimentally impacted state employees’ health benefits and pensions, reports the New York Times.
The Republican state senators, led by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, violated the state’s open meeting law when they voted on the measure despite the absence of 14 Democratic state senators. Where were the senators during the time of the meeting? They had fled to Illinois in protest of the proposed measure .
Is the new judicial ruling a precedent to further rulings in other states whose Republican lawmakers are in the midst of eliminating their respective public employees’ collective bargaining rights? At this point, only time will tell, but to name a few states…
The state of Ohio has been in the news as much as Wisconsin, with Republican lawmakers pointing the finger at state employees’ unions draining the state budget. Assembly Bill 5 passed March 31, which severely undercut collective bargaining rights for state employees, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
Currently, educators are among the public employees feeling the budget balancing in the Buckeye State with loss of jobs and cuts to their benefits and pensions. It remains to be seen if there will be a dramatic push against Republican lawmakers in Ohio. Public educators are in need of their very own “Wisconsin 14,” in the form of an “Ohio 14”. In addition, they will need a march on their state capitol to the magnitude of Wisconsin’s public outcry on Madison’s capitol steps back in February.
Gov. Chris Christie is portrayed as following suit with other union-busting Republican lawmakers to alleviate the state of New Jersey’s budget. To date, there are no measures passed in his state, but may be forthcoming. Though, with this latest blow to the Wisconsin Republicans’ union-busting agenda, New Jersey may take a back seat.
Christie has developed a way to get more tax dollars pushed through his state by signing a bill mandating that all public employees reside in the Garden State. Senate Bill 1730 would require current out-of-state employees to move or lose their public jobs in the state of New Jersey, according to NJ.com.
SB 1730 may very well work against Christie in added tax dollars if New Jersey public workers wish to remain in the respective states they currently reside in and leave their New Jersey employment.
Republican lawmakers in the state of Florida may also be on notice after the recent ruling made by Judge Sumi in respect to their prospects on limiting collective bargaining rights for state employees.
Senate Bill 830 is a union-busting bill that did not go through, much to the relief of Florida public employees. However, Senate Bill 1352 is currently in place in Florida law supporting the state’s public workers.
Ultimately, what will dictate to other states opening up laws to union busting will be determined on the strength of the respective states’ voting public and opposing political alliances. Currently, Wisconsin has set the tone on how to do just that.