Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The Honorable Juan Colas had ruled over a year ago that Act 10 was unconstitutional and struck it down.

In the year following that ruling, most of the state has thumbed their nose at the ruling, counting on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to again ignore the facts of the case and overturn it as they did with  the initial lawsuit against it.

The exception to that behavior was Dane County and the City of Madison. It is not coincidental that this is also the part of the state that is doing the best economically.

Last month, the case again came before Colas who clarified his ruling.  Despite this clarification, Scott Walker's administration again thumbed their nose at the ruling and refused to follow it.

Thus the unions filed yet another petition before Judge Colas, this time to find Walker's people in contempt of court for not following his ruling.  And find them in contempt he did:
A Dane County judge found Gov. Scott Walker's employment relations commissioners in contempt of court Monday for repeatedly defying the judge's finding last year that Walker's signature labor law was unconstitutional.

Monday's ruling by Circuit Judge Juan Colás will give teachers and local government workers the ability to immediately enter labor negotiations with their bosses; likely result in the cancellation of union recertification elections set for November; and grant official state recognition of a Kenosha teachers union that had been decertified.

Much remains uncertain about Act 10, the law approved by Walker and his fellow Republicans in 2011 that all but eliminated collective bargaining for public employees. State officials promised to immediately appeal Monday's ruling, and the underlaying [sic] case is already heading to the state Supreme Court, with oral arguments set for Nov. 11.

Colás in September 2012 found key portions of Act 10 unconstitutional. Despite that, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission acted as if the law were still in effect for most unions by scheduling union recertification elections.

"I think that is contempt — that's an intentional disregard of the court's order," Colás said of the commission's actions.

"I think this conduct was nothing more than an attempt to elude the application of a judgment of the court the commissioners knew full well applied."
The best part is that the ruling applies to ALL local and teacher unions. That worst part is that state workers are still getting the shaft:
For the time being at least, much of Act 10 is not in effect for teachers and local government workers. It remains in place for state employees because they were not part of the original lawsuit and before Act 10 state workers were regulated by a labor law that was different from the law regulating municipal workers.
Somehow, I don't expect that Chris Abele or even Tom Barrett will be on the phone with AFSCME tomorrow morning to get down to business. Especially not Abele, who has shown time and time again that he sees workers as nothing more than human capitol to be exploited and kicked to the side.

Actually, I don't expect too many local governments or school boards to be too keen to resume negotiations with their respective unions.  Not that they don't agree with collective bargaining, but because Walker and his fellow Teapublicans have looted their funding and gave it to the corporate special interests that have bought them off.

As noted above, the case will be going before the state supreme court on November 11.  Even though the constitution is in favor of the unions, it is doubtful whether David "Chokehold" Prosser and the rest of the corporate justices will even bother with the facts of the case.

It should be noted that regardless of whether the Supreme Court rules by using the Constitution or by their campaign ledgers, their ruling won't be the end of this case as it proceeds to the federal court level.

It' should also prove interesting and enlightening to see how various candidates respond to this ruling.  Will any of the Democratic candidates urge responsibility and say bargaining should commence?  Or will any Republicans admit they did a great disservice when they overreached on this attack on the workers in this state and caused the economic downturn and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs?

1 comment:

  1. I assume the Dem and Rep candidates you are speaking of are for State offices? If so it doesn't matter what they say as none of the State unions decided to participate in the law suit. Another bad decision.