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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Seeks Emergency Stay of Orders in Act 10 Case to Enable Union Recertification Elections to Occur

MADISON — The Department of Justice is asking both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals to stay different orders of the Dane County Circuit Court (Branch 10) arising from the case Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Walker (Dane Cty. Cir. Ct case # 11-CV-3774). 


The emergency motion with the Court of Appeals asks the court to stay pending appeal a contempt ruling made from the bench by the Circuit Court on Monday, October 21, 2013, and the related order issued earlier today.  The emergency motion with the Supreme Court asks to stay the Circuit Court’s initial declaratory judgment, which is also the subject of an appeal that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday, November 11, 2013.  If either of these emergency motions is granted by October 29, 2013, school district collective bargaining agent certification elections will be allowed to occur as scheduled on November 1, 2013.  If either of these emergency motions is granted by November 4, 2013, the elections will be allowed to occur this year.  Without such relief, school district employees who are members of collective bargaining units will be denied their statutory right to cast a ballot in a recertification election.  Those elections are designed to ensure that municipal employees within a collective bargaining unit have the opportunity to choose, on an annual basis, whether they wish to be represented by a collective bargaining agent and who that agent should be.


“Act 10 is, in all respects, constitutional,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.  “We look forward to a final resolution of the MTI case by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Fewer than three weeks before the Supreme Court was to hear final oral arguments on the merits, however, the Circuit Court made a ruling and issued an order that effectively gives its decision under Supreme Court review statewide effect and dramatically alters the status quo.  These emergency motions request prompt relief from the state’s appellate courts.  Only if granted will school district employees be allowed to choose by election, this year, whether to have a collective bargaining agent and, if so, who it should be. ” 


On Wednesday, the Dane County Circuit Court (Branch 1) upheld Act 10’s modifications to the State Employee Labor Relations Act in a suit with overlapping constitutional claims as those presented in the MTI litigation.  The decision in the case of Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association v. Walker (Dane Cty. Cir. Cr. Case No. 12-CV-4474) is consistent with decisions in two federal cases, Wis. Educ. Ass’n Council v. Walker, et al., 705 F.3d 640 (7th Cir. 2013) and Laborers Local 236, et al. v. Walker, et al., No. 11-cv-462, 2013 WL 4875995 (W.D. Wis. Sept. 11, 2013), which upheld Act 10 in its entirety against similar constitutional challenges.