MADISON - When Governor Scott Walker introduced his plan to strip public employees of most collective bargaining rights, it ignited a national debate.
Unions took the fight to the courtroom. On Friday, U.S. District Judge William Conley upheld most, but not all, of the law.
Conley ruled unions should not be forced to recertify each year if public safety unions are exempt.
He also ruled union dues should be able to be withdrawn automatically from paychecks.
"You can't segment one group against the other and the court saw through that," said Tony Vanderbloemen, the president of the Greater Green Bay Labor Council.
Vanderbloemen says the federal ruling is a major victory for unions.
"What it tells me is Scott Walker is not beyond the laws of this nation and that he must treat everybody equally," said Vanderbloemen.
Governor Walker disagrees. A statement from his office reads, "Today Judge Connelly affirmed the constitutionality of nearly everything in Act 10. We are confident that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will continue to uphold the constitutionality of the law."
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen isn't sure the state will appeal the decision.
Although, in a statement, Van Hollen says, "we are confident that we would prevail in an appeal if we choose to go that direction."
For now, Vanderbloemen says he has a message for the Governor.
"Unions are here and we're not going away," said Vanderbloemen. "He cannot violate the laws to try to destroy organized labor."
If the ruling stands, automatic union withdrawals must be put back into place by May 31st.
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