On Monday, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Hansher denied a motion by the Milwaukee Area Technical College (“MATC”) and its teacher’s union, AFSCME Local 212, to dismiss WILL’s case challenging a contract between the school and the union after Act 10 was passed. They had tried to take advantage of a ruling by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colás, even though WILL had warned the MATC Board that Colás’s decision did not create a “window” for anybody not a party to that case to avoid Act 10.
When WILL sued on behalf of an MATC faculty member, the school and union tied the case up with multiple motions to dismiss. Last month, the court rejected several of those arguments, ruling that the faculty member had substantially complied with notice of claim requirements, that she had standing to bring the lawsuit, that the controversy was ripe for determination, and that Local 212 could be held liable for anti-trust violations.
The defendants had also argued that the case was moot because the contract was “conditional” and therefore never came into existence and could not be challenged in court. The court asked for additional briefing on that argument, but rejected it Monday. The court held that a single reference to conditionality in a summary document seen only by the MATC Board could not establish that the parties had agreed in negotiation that the contract would be conditional. The contract itself never contained any conditional language.
“With the motions to dismiss out of the way, we see no more obstacles to obtaining a court ruling that MATC and Local 212 violated Act 10,” said Tom Kamenick, Associate Counsel for WILL. “We’re one step closer to establishing that there was no window for local governments to negotiate outside of Act 10’s limitations.”