WILL Files Amicus Brief in Act 10 Case

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Today, “WILL” filed an amicus brief opposing the motion of several unions seeking contempt sanctions against the Wisconsin Employment Relation Commission (“WERC”) commissioners in the Judge Colas Act 10 case.  WILL represents four public school teachers who want to be able to vote this November either for or against recertification of their union.  Although the case is currently pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the unions (who are not actually parties to the Colas lawsuit and who therefore are not affected by his decision) are asking Judge Colas to fine and even imprison the WERC commissioners if they proceed with recertification elections in November.

The brief makes several arguments against the unions’ motion.  First, it points out that the unions’ motion would affect over 2,000 units of local government and tens of thousands of public employees who are not parties to the case and whose voices cannot be heard.  Second, it argues that all those people and government entities are still bound by Act 10, and WERC must recognize that fact in its dealings with them.  Third, it demonstrates that prohibiting recertification elections can hurt even those who support unionization, because when Act 10 is upheld by the supreme court, those unions who did not stand for recertification will lose their status as bargaining agents.  Finally, it reminds Judge Colas that the supreme court currently has jurisdiction over the case and he lacks the authority to extend the reach of his decision statewide.

“Public education should extol the virtues of democracy at every level,” said Nick Johnson, one of the four teachers.  “Central to the theme of democracy is the right and weight of the vote.  In denying teachers the right to vote and take an active role in their profession we are hindering rather than helping our livelihoods, our students and ultimately the future of our nation.”

A copy of the brief can be found here.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in this case on November 11, and is likely to issue a ruling next Spring or Summer.

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