Tragically, Act 10's continuation will hold back economic progress for all of Madison and Wisconsin. We know that public investment in transportation systems, education, parks, and sewers are essential for inclusive economic growth. Before Act 10, with collective bargaining for public employees, Wisconsin had one of the lowest costs of operation for government in the United States. I fear that the false assumption underlying the enactment of this law will undermine our ability to hire and train the bright men and women who historically were, dollar for dollar, the most productive in the United States.
Where legal, City of Madison will continue to negotiate labor agreements in good faith with our workers. Where Act 10 violates this principle, we will develop constructive alternatives that recognize the dignity and rights of public employees. I have always believed, as noted by Justice Crooks, in today's opinions, "as thoughtful people from across the political spectrum and around the world have long recognized, collective bargaining benefits workers, employers and society itself."
City attorneys are reviewing today's decision in detail. In the meantime, the City of Madison will continue to work under the existing labor contracts until January 1, 2015 when the handbook and related ordinances will replace the contracts.
Perhaps more egregious than its ruling on collective bargaining is the Court's complete misreading of the Home Rule Amendment applicable to cities and villages throughout Wisconsin. The Court continues a pattern of reading the Home Rule Amendment out of the Constitution, a pattern that must be reversed.
There is no question however, that fair wages and benefits to workers are a key part of keeping our local and state economy moving forward. That continues to be my focus as Mayor.