One Megalomaniacal Dane County Judge Can’t Restore Wisconsin Teacher Union Bosses’ Forced-Unionism Privileges Statewide
For two-and-a-half years, union bosses in Wisconsin and their cohorts across the nation have tried again and again to get a federal or state court to overturn Act 10, a wide-ranging Badger State budget reform that includes provisions protecting most state and local employees from termination for refusal to pay union dues or fees as a job condition.
For the most part, union lawyers’ crusade against Act 10, which in addition to protecting civil servants’ Right to Work sharply limits the scope of most government union officials’ monopoly-bargaining privileges, has been unsuccessful. However, one Big Labor activist jurist, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas, has eagerly accepted teacher union lawyers’ arguments and airily dismissed the findings of other courts, both state and federal. And Colas has not been content to block enforcement of the supposedly “unconstitutional” provisions in Act 10 within his own jurisdiction.
Egged on by lawyers for the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC/NEA) teacher union, Colas is now evidently trying to override, at least temporarily, 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.
Early this week, Right to Work advocates in the Badger State and nationwide were dismayed to learn that Wisconsin’s state Appeals Court had refused to lift an injunction imposed by Colas prohibiting the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) from enforcing the Act 1o provisions he finds objectionable in any school district or municipality. (See the link below for more information.)
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is now asking the state Supreme Court to review the Appeals Court decision allowing Colas’ injunction to remain in place, but the High Court likely will wait to consider this appeal simultaneously with the attorney general’s appeal of Colas’ original decision overturning the core provisions in Act 10. The state Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of Act 10 is scheduled for Monday, November 11.
In the Supreme Court case, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is partnering with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) to ensure that tens of thousands of independent-minded public servants’ freedom not to bankroll an unwanted union is vindicated. The public school teachers represented by the Foundation and WILL have been granted friend-of-the-court status in the case, Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Scott Walker.
Meanwhile, despite Judge Colas’ overweening efforts to enjoin the key provisions of Act 10 in school districts and municipalities statewide, independent-minded teachers in the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin school districts can continue to assert their freedom not to bankroll an unwanted union under state law, and take their school districts to court if they refuse to recognize that freedom. As the Wisconsin Appeals Court affirmed even as it left Colas’ injunction in place, other courts across the state are not bound by anything Colas says. Neither are school districts outside of Dane County.