Collective bargaining is not a constitutional right, but a matter of "legislative grace," the Wisconsin Supreme Court says. The court’s ruling today kills the last challenge to Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 labor law with a 5-2 vote. The legislation, held up in its entirety, bans most of the state’s unions from collective bargaining for anything more than inflation-based wage increases, the AP reports. Act 10 has been challenged for three years; this latest ruling was on a lawsuit brought by Madison’s teachers and Milwaukee’s public workers that said Act 10 ran contrary to their constitutional rights to free assembly and equal protection.
Though he sided with the majority, Justice Patrick Crooks did say Act 10 "erodes longstanding benefits to both public workers and to public employers," the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Nonetheless, Act 10 has proven invincible to numerous legal challenges since introduced in 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Federal appeals courts upheld the law twice, and in 2011, the State Supreme Court said the state didn’t violate Wisconsin's open meetings law when Act 10 was passed. Now that his legislation has survived its last challenge, Gov. Walker is claiming victory for "hard-working taxpayers." "Act 10 has saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion," he says. (Read more labor unions stories.)