Common sense won out twice in Wisconsin in the past two weeks. On September 11, Wisconsin Act 10 upheld in another federal court challenge.
A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed one of the lawsuits challenging Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill in 2011 that eliminated most collective bargaining powers held by Wisconsin public unions.It goes to reason that if government does not have to listen to the union, then the union is useless. Acting in advance of the ruling, Wisconsin's Third Largest Teachers Union Decertified on August 31st.
U.S. District Court Judge William Conley dismissed the constitutional challenges in Laborers Local 236, et al. v. Walker, et al. Conley ruled that the plaintiffs “failed to state a claim for relief under either the First or Fourteenth Amendments.”
The unions claimed that Act 10’s collective bargaining restrictions interfered with municipal employees’ rights to association, assembly and speech under the First Amendment, and that it violates the Equal Protection Clause “by treating individuals represented by a collective bargaining unit different than unrepresented individuals.”
“Under Act 10, general employees remain free to associate and represented employees and their unions remain free to speak; municipal employers are simply not allowed to listen,” Conley wrote.
Conley also ruled that governments can treat represented employees differently than unrepresented employees in regards to bargaining over wages and employment conditions.
Vincent Vernuccio, Director of Labor Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told the MacIver News Service, "recertification is needed to keep unions responsible to their members and to allow the change necessary to remove ineffectual representation. It is simply democracy and majority rule."Bingo.
Vernuccio pointed out that most workers do not have this option across the nation and is thankful that public workers in Wisconsin have this opportunity.
"The teachers simply did not see the value in the representation the union was offering," Vernuccio said.
Now that the union has been decertified, it can no longer represent Kenosha Unified School District teachers during any negotiations. It also ends the automatic deduction of union dues on teachers' paychecks.
Brett Healy, President of the MacIver Institute agrees that taxpayers continue to benefit from Act 10.
"Act 10 has truly changed everything here in Wisconsin. The fact that teachers, in what once was one of the largest and most partisan local unions in the state, would voluntarily choose not to join the union is astounding. Act 10 gave these hard-working men and women the freedom to choose and they are telling big labor just exactly how they feel about forced-participation and the unions' boorish behavior," Healy said.
The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.Elimination of Collective Bargaining is the Single Best Thing one Can do for School Kids
In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust -- a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.
Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. "With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, 'We can match the lowest bid,'" says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke.