Thursday, April 25, 2013
A lawsuit filed by unions representing Madison teachers and city of Milwaukee employees over the state's collective bargaining law may be headed to the State Supreme Court.
A state appeals court is urging the Wisconsin State Supreme Court to take on an Act 10 lawsuit filed by two unions, which challenged the constitutionality of the collective bargaining limitations Gov. Scot Walker imposed on almost all public unions in 2010. The Supreme Court could take the case without waiting for an Appeals Court decision, but whether is does so is at the high court's discretion. If the Supreme Court doesn’t take the case, then the Appeals Court would need to take it. A certification filed by a panel of three judges from the 4th District Court of Appeals, asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case because “a number of public unions have filed suits against municipalities over Act 10 provisions, which have left …
Monday, September 17, 2012
Ramifications of judge's decision on budget repair bill's provisions are clouded while actions to stay and overturn it are in abeyance.
- Jim Price
Monday, September 17, 2012
Whether you agree or disagree with Friday's court ruling overturning most of the provisions of Wisconsin's Act 10 budget repair bill, you'd probably not argue that it comes at a fairly inopportune time for local government. Mayor Kathy Ehley and City Administrator Jim Archamambo and their administrative advisors have worked all summer on their 2013 executive budget, and hearings on that revenue and spending plan began just last week. Whether or how the decision handed down by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas could affect that budget remains unknown and, for the time being, perhaps unknowable. The budget is in large part based on city employee compensation, which accounts for approximately three-quarters of city spending. And although …
Friday, September 14, 2012
A Dane County judge has declared Act 10 — the budget repair bill — as unconstitutional at both the state and federal levels.
The law that ended most collective bargaining rights for public employees was struck down Friday by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas. According to our media partners at Fox 6 News, Colas ruled Act 10 — the budget repair bill — as null and void because the law violates both the state and US Constitutions. Specifically, the law violates the guarantee of freedom of speech and citizens' freedom of association. Colas' 27-page decision is summarized in The Capital Times, quoting the judge's primary reason for his decision as " (Act 10) single(s) out and encumber(s) the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and …
Friday, March 30, 2012
A federal judge today said automatic collection of dues and requiring annual re-certification violate unions' First Amendment rights.
Two components of Act 10 - the budget repair bill - were deemed unconstitutional today, according to a federal judge's ruling. Specifically, unions challenged whether or not dues can be automatically deducted from public employee paychecks and that unions must certify with an absolute majority. The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of unions shortly after Act 10 was passed last year. Saying those provisions violate union members' First Amendment rights because public safety employee unions are not subject to the same restrictions, US District Judge William M. Conley issued his opinion Friday. He rejected assertions that the law violates any equal protection under the law clauses, but he ordered that automatic dues withdrawals be reinstated …
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
While politicians on both sides craft talking points, Wisconsin residents speak out on the reforms that have passed in Walker's first year in office.
For years, Tom Scheer has stood on the political sidelines, but all that changed this year after Republican Gov. Scott Walker took office and introduced controversial limitations to collective bargaining, a bill allowing the concealed carry of weapons and a voter identification bill. Scheer was one of hundreds of people across the state who signed petitions to recall Walker Tuesday. He said Walker never talked about collective bargaining restrictions in his campaign, which to Scheer is representative of a larger silencing of the voice of people in Wisconsin. "Virtually everything he's done when he's been in office has been something that was not talked about during his campaign, and what the people have wanted since he was elected has been…
Thursday, November 10, 2011
We Are Milwaukee to demonstrate on same day that effort to recall Wisconsin governor officially gets under way.
- Jim Price
Thursday, November 10, 2011
A statewide effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker gets under way Tuesday, and at least one organization plans to start the effort off with a bang: By holding a recall rally in front of the governor's Wauwatosa home. Planning for the rally has been under the radar. No press releases have been sent to the media and there isn't much information about it online. But organizers said Thursday that the rally is a go, with local, regional and national groups behind it. We Are Milwaukee, an "alliance of community-based organizations, unions, faith communities and local leaders," is planning to meet at 4:30 p.m. at the Juneau High School, 6415 W. Mount Vernon Ave. in Milwaukee, and march four blocks north to Walker's residence at 520 N. 68th St. There…
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Wisconsin's school administrators are no longer subject to 'union meddling and obstruction.'
The repeal of much of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law with regard to many of Wisconsin’s public employees has not been adequately explained. This repeal will do more to improve the quality and lower the cost of Wisconsin government than anything else we’ve done. There are approximately 275,000 government employees in the state of Wisconsin. About 72,000 work for the state, 38,000 for cities and villages, 48,000 for counties, 10,500 (full-time equivalent) for technical colleges, and 105,229 for schools. Only half of state employees are unionized, but almost all school employees are. As you can see, the biggest impact will be on Wisconsin’s schools. Since my office has received the most complaints from school teachers, let’s look at …
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Changes had been discussed all year as Gov. Walker and the state Legislature acted, but council actions officially do away with different rates for union workers.
In moves no doubt being mirrored in some form in communities across Wisconsin, the Wauwtosa Common Council approved measures Tuesday night that spell the end of union collective bargaining influence on compensating city workers. One resolution, passed unanimously, did away with any difference between union and non-union employees in health insurance contributions, excepting fire and police, raising the rate for formerly protected employees from 3 percent to 10 percent across the board. Another eliminated all but one health care plan, doing away with negotiated options and allowing the city to set up plans with higher deductibles. "These two little items are a big deal," said Ald. Peter Donegan, chairman of the Employee Relations Committee…
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Committee hears and passes a raft of recommendations to put union and non-union workers on par.
On June 29, the controversial state budget repair bill went into effect, and on July 1, the state budget bill itself went into effect as well. It did not take long for the City of Wauwatosa to react. Tuesday night, the Employee Relations Committee addressed a host of items that will change the way Wauwatosa compensates its employees in the absence of most collective bargaining rights. On the advice of city staff, the committee recommended: Within the details of those changes were others, principally affecting police and fire supervisors. The state budget bill exempts public safety supervisors from contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System, the same as rank and file officers and firefighters. But the state also now requires police …
Monday, June 27, 2011
With no fanfare, 2011-12 spending plan is accepted that freezes all pay but harms no programs.
In the end, when it finally happened, it seemed almost anticlimactic. After 2-1/2 hours of presentations on other matters, and with most of the few people who came having already left, the School Board passed a budget for the coming year, unanimously and with no debate, at its Monday night meeting. Only board member Phil Kroner had anything to say, and it simply amounted to a word of thanks. "I'm really pleased with this budget," he said. "When students come to school in the fall, they're going to see the same things, have the same teachers, and they're going to see new things as well. "And that's thanks to the hard work of the administration and the sacrifices made by our employees." "Hard work" and "sacrifices" might well be boldfaced, …