(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a controversial Wisconsin law that restricts the power of public-sector unions, the passage of which sparked an unsuccessful effort to recall the state’s Republican Governor, Scott Walker.

By a 2-1 vote, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago found that the 2011 law is constitutional, rejecting claims that it violated the equal protection and First Amendment rights of union members.

It reversed part of a March 2012 ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison, Wisconsin.

Seven of Wisconsin’s largest public-sector unions, including the Wisconsin Education Association Council, had sued to overturn the law, known as Act 10.

“Wisconsin educators are extremely disappointed with the appeals court ruling,” the group’s president Mary Bell said in a statement. She called the law “a ploy to eliminate workers’ rights to have a voice through their union – political payback for citizens who didn’t endorse the governor.”

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