Wisconsin Court Blocks Bargaining Rights Bill

A Wisconsin judge issued a temporary stay blocking the state from utilizing the recently passed bill limiting union's collective bargaining rights.

Judge Maryann Sumi issued the temporary order Friday, allowing unions representing state employees to retain their bargaining rights over benefits.

The order was given in response to a lawsuit filed by District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. The lawsuit alleged the legislative committee considering the bill violated Wisconsin's open meeting law by pushing the measure to the floor.

The bargaining rights bill, proposed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, would have saved the state money by increasing employee's share of payments for their health care and pension plans. Walker proposed the bill in order to avoid cutting state workers in a failing economy.

However, Dr. Ronald Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, contended that local governments should not "balance the budget on the backs of the people."

Sider said he is not defending all of the unions' actions, but said unions are a check to the concentrated power of their employers.

"What unions have done is given people a balancing power," explained Sider.

He expressed that taking away that balancing power is theologically wrong.

News of the bill sparked outrage among Democrats and Wisconsin workers. As state workers flooded the Capitol to demonstrate, Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers fled to Illinois to avoid the quorum necessary to pass the proposal.

Wisconsin Republicans eventually passed the bill with Democrats and Gov. Walker signed it into law on March 11.