A controversial law that has been in effect for more than a year has been thrown out by a judge in the state of Wisconsin.
US Republican Governor Scott Walker supported this law which strips most public employees of their collective bargaining rights.
Although in June last year Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional, a Dane County circuit judge ruled that key parts of the law violated the constitution and were null and void.
According to Judge Juan Colas said sections of the law infringed “the rights of those employees who choose union membership”, as well as the rights of free speech and association “guaranteed by both the Wisconsin and United States constitutions”.
He added that by creating separate classes of workers who were treated differently and unequally, the law also violated the “equal protection clause”.
This ruling was welcomed by unions (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk).
However Mr Walker’s administration immediately vowed to appeal the ruling, which throws into question changes that have been made in pay, benefits and other work rules across the state for city, county as well as school district workers.
Two Wisconsin unions representing teachers and public workers brought the law suit.
In a statement by Governor Walker, the judge was described as a “liberal activist”, who “wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor”.
“We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail,” the statement also said.
Earlier this year Governor Walker survived an attempt to oust him from office through a recall vote, only the third vote of this kind in US history.
Still unclear is whether implementation of the legislation will be suspended pending the appeals process.