Here is a Victory for Democracy and Limited Government on Magna Carta Day!

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, upheld the legislation passed this session that limits collective bargaining rights of most public employees (here is our brief news story about it). Police and fire were excluded from the legislation.

Here is a CNN news story:

Under the Wisconsin law, all public workers except police and firefighters would be required to cover more of their retirement plan contributions and health care premiums.

Raises would be tied to the rate of inflation, unless state voters approve an exception. Unions would be required to hold a new certification vote every year and would no longer be allowed to collect dues from workers’ paychecks.

The state Supreme Court overturned a ruling by Judge Maryann Sumi, who said GOP legislators failed to provide sufficient public notice before passing the measure this year.

Major media refers to the legislation as “anti-union.” I guess that is one fair characterization. The Minneapolis Strib just re-printed the AP story–all the major news outlets called it anti-union, too.

It is also, however, very pro-democratic (small “d”). By that I mean, the court upheld the right of the duly elected representatives of the people (the legislature) to make tough decisions about the collective bargaining rights and benefits of public employees. They also corrected the terrible practice of having the state pay both the employer and employee contributions to pensions—an outcome achieved by collective bargaining, as well as increased employee contributions to excellent health care benefits. These folks were paying NOTHING toward their pensions and health care. And they wonder how collective bargaining by public employee unions gets a bad reputation!

In the face of an overwhelming and relentless state and national union campaigns against them, the flight of Democratic lawmakers for weeks to Illinois and an occupation of the state capitol, the legislature decided that this was one way they would get their deficit spending under control–which is what they were sent to Madison to do.

These lawmakers are now being targeted by the unions for political extinction.

Here are my thoughts on Collective Bargaining for Public Employees.