The Center Square) – Act 10, the law that fundamentally weakened Wisconsin’s public school teachers’ unions, is headed back to court. And again there is an effort to save it.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on Monday filed a motion to join the new case that seeks to end Act 10. That case claims there was “no conceivable rational basis” for Act 10 to begin with.
“There is no question that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 significantly changed labor relations in Wisconsin. But since Act 10’s enactment over a decade ago, state and federal courts have repeatedly rebuffed constitutional challenges to the law by those who oppose it,” WILL wrote in its memo to the court. “Both the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin and Seventh Circuit in [the Walker case] had little trouble concluding that Wisconsin was free to distinguish between public safety and general employees, with the latter labeling this conclusion as ‘uncontroversial.’”
The latest challenge to Act 10 comes is a claim the law violates equal protection requirements by treating public safety employees like police officers differently than public school teachers.
“Not only has Act 10 survived more than a decade of state and federal court challenges, but it set a national precedent for protecting the freedom of taxpayers and state employees everywhere. WILL is proud to once again be on the side of Act 10. Wisconsin cannot afford to go backwards on this important issue,” WILL’s Lucas Vebber said in a statement.
WILL is asking to join the case on behalf of Kristi Koschkee, who it describes as an employee at a public school district.
“She does not want her local union interfering with her relationship with her employer by bargaining on subjects beyond those permitted by Act 10 or entering agreements that last longer than a year; she supports requiring unions to recertify annually, does not want to have her decision to abstain from a union certification vote work in the union’s favor, and does not want to be pressured into participating in recertification elections; and she opposes allowing unions to access employee wages directly through payroll deductions,” WILL’s court memo stated.
Former Gov. Scott Walker signed Act 10 in 2011. It limited teachers unions in Wisconsin to negotiating only salaries, and stopped unions from including other benefits in their regularly scheduled contract negotiations.
Conservatives estimate that Act 10 has saved taxpayers in Wisconsin over $17 billion in the decade-plus that it’s been a law.