Supreme Court Rejected Judge Colas’ Decision that Blocked Elections
MacIver News Service | November 25, 2013[Madison, Wisc…] With state commissioners no longer being held in contempt of court, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) voted to hold union recertification elections and to extend the deadline for completing those elections during a meeting Monday morning.
All of those elections will begin on Friday, November 29th. Union members will have 20 days to vote using a telephone voting system. The final day to vote will be December 19th. Only unions that bargain with school districts and filed recertification paperwork with WERC are affected.
Originally the elections were scheduled to run from November 1st to 21st. However, that was delayed by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas.
Two unions had sued the state over having to hold the recertification elections and Colas ruled in their favor. WERC then went ahead with planning elections for unions not involved in the lawsuit. Colas claimed his ruling applied statewide and found the commissioners in contempt. The State Supreme Court ruled that Colas was wrong on Thursday, November 21st and lifted the contempt order.
“My personal feeling is it was all political theater to begin with so I was never particularly concerned with the contempt proceeding,” James Scott, Chairman of WERC, told the MacIver News Service.
WERC voted in closed session to hold the elections for other school districts. Then in open session voted to extend the original deadline.
WERC estimates there will be somewhere around 400 elections across the state. A majority of a union’s members must vote for recertification in order for that union to be allowed to bargain with the school district.
The Kenosha Education Association did not apply for recertification, yet bargained new contracts with the Board of Education while the Colas contempt ruling was in effect. The union, school board and district are all being sued now for illegally bargaining a contract.
WERC plans on holding recertification elections in the spring for municipal level unions.