Big Labor Activist Judge’s Latest Ruling ‘Opens a Pandora’s Box of Legal Issues and Litigation’

WI wins under WalkerIn early 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature adopted and Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Act 10, a wide-ranging budget reform measure that included provisions protecting most state and local public-sector employees from being fired for refusal to pay union dues or fees as a job condition and also sharply limiting the scope of most government union officials’ monopoly-bargaining privileges.  Mobilized National Right to Work Committee members and supporters joined with many other citizens to lobby successfully for passage of Act 10, which is an important step towards making Wisconsin a Right to Work state.

Union bosses immediately counterattacked, but with little success.  After failing to pave the way for repeal  of Act 10 through special recall elections in 2011 and 2012, and after being soundly rebuked by Badger State voters in the Fall 2012 general elections, Big Labor remains determined to overturn Act 10 in the courts.

Unfortunately for the union bosses, Act 10 has been upheld as constitutional again and again by both federal and state courts.  Just this week, Dane County Circuit Judge John Markson dismissed a lawsuit filed by police union bosses against Act 10.

Nevertheless, union bosses appear to be counting on one Big Labor activist judge in the same circuit, Juan Colas, to at least temporarily override the decisions of all other courts and reinstate public-sector forced union dues and fees and restore full monopoly bargaining privileges for government union bosses statewide.

This Monday, Judge Colas issued the latest of a serious of  activist decisions he has rendered against Act 10.  An analysis (see the link below) by the MacIver Institute, a pro-Act 10 think tank in Wisconsin, cites attorney Rick Esenberg, who is partnering with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation to ensure that tens of thousands of independent-minded public servants’ freedom not to bankroll an unwanted union is upheld in court:

In the midst of confusion created by a circuit judge potentially acting well beyond the limits of his authority, at least one Wisconsin teachers union is acting under the belief Act 10 never existed in the first place.

Last year Judge Juan Colas ruled in favor of two specific unions in a lawsuit that it is unconstitutional for the state to require public unions to hold annual recertification elections. On September 17th, he then decided that his ruling applied to every union in the state, not just those actually involved in the lawsuit.

Rick Esenberg, President of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, pointed out “only the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals can make decisions that have statewide, precedential effect.”

“With respect, we continue to believe that Judge Colas’ decision on the constitutionality of Act 10 is clearly wrong and not supported by law or court precedent,” Esenberg said in a press release Tuesday. “By attempting to extend his ruling to impair the rights of others not before the court, yesterday’s decision opens a Pandora’s box of legal issues and litigation, until the state Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Act 10.” . . .

Despite Judge Colas finding them in contempt, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission is preparing for hundreds of recertification elections in November.

The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the state regarding Judge Colas’ initial ruling in 2012.

Do Unions Have an Opening to Negotiate after a Dane County Judge’s Ruling?