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State Supreme Court to hear Act 10 appeal in November; lower court restores union bargaining rights

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)   Wisconsin's local government and public school unions can start negotiating again for higher wages and working conditions -- but maybe not for long. The state promises to appeal a ruling yesterday from Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas, who ruled that the Act-10 bargaining limits from 2011 are unconstitutional for local and school unions statewide.

Colas held state employment relations commissioners in contempt, for proceeding with annual re-certification elections for 400 local unions. Colas ruled more than a year ago that Act-10 did not apply to local and school groups -- but the state said the ruling only applied to the plaintiffs in that case, the Madison teachers and a Milwaukee city employee union. Colas ruled recently that his initial ruling was meant to apply statewide -- but until yesterday, he refused to issue an injunction to call off the re-certification elections. Those votes will have to be canceled after November 1st unless the state can get a court to keep Act-10 in place while Colas's ruling from yesterday is being appealed.

A Justice Department lawyer says they'll seek a stay of that decision for now, so the union elections can proceed.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments November 11th on an appeal of Colas's original ruling. Governor Scott Walker's office expects to prevail, saying Act-10 has been upheld in every other legal challenge it has faced so far.