Public School Teachers File Lawsuit Against Employment Relations Commission to Uphold Act 10

MacIver News Service | October 31, 2013

[Waukesha, Wisc…] Five public school teachers from across Wisconsin have filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) to ensure their respective bargaining units hold union recertification votes before December 1st.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed the suit on behalf of the teachers to urge the judge to uphold the teachers’ rights under Act 10.

Recertification elections are required to occur before December 1st under Act 10, but a recent ruling by Dane County District Judge Juan Colas has had public unions across the state declare that portion of Act 10 does not apply to them.

“Act 10 is the law of the land until a higher court decides otherwise. Judge Colas’ rulings are not binding on our clients or tens of thousands of other teachers across the state,” said Rick Esenberg, WILL President and General Council, in a statement. “They, their employers, and their unions were not parties to the original Madison Teachers case. Therefore, they are afforded all of the rights, freedoms, and protections under Act 10.”

If the unions hold an election and do not receive 51 percent of the vote to recertify, WERC is required by law to decertify the union and they would no longer be recognized as a bargaining unit. Many of these elections were cancelled, however, after Colas’ recent decision.

“In denying teachers the right to vote and take an active role in their profession, WERC is hindering rather than helping our livelihoods, our students, and ultimately the future of our nation,” said Nick Johnson, a teacher at Milwaukee Public Schools and a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The suit was filed in Waukesha Circuit Court on Wednesday.

The full press release from WILL can be seen here.