|By Ed Treleven, The Wisconsin State Journal</b>|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
In upholding Gov.
In its 5-2 decision, the court said public workers in
"We reject the plaintiffs' argument that several provisions of Act 10, which delineate the rights, obligations and procedures of collective bargaining, somehow infringe upon general employees' constitutional right to freedom of association," Justice
"No matter the limitations or 'burdens' a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect."
"As thoughtful people from across the political spectrum and around the world have long recognized, collective bargaining benefits workers, employers and society itself," Crooks wrote. "Although Act 10 does not violate either
In a statement, Gov.
"Act 10 has saved
The law prohibits most government employees from bargaining on issues other than base wages up to the rate of inflation, required unions to hold annual recertification votes and prohibits the state and municipalities from deducting union dues from paychecks.
Public safety employees, which include some but not all police unions, kept the rights they had before the law took effect.
Several key provisions of the law were ruled unconstitutional in 2012 by
A federal appeals court in
It was not clear how or when Thursday's ruling might affect thousands of local government employees -- including those in Madison, the