Dear AFT-Wisconsin members,
This morning, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its ruling in Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Walker, in which the Court’s conservative majority overturned Judge Juan Colas’s 2012 decision that found most of Act 10 unconstitutional for municipal employees. The decision did not affect our state employee and UW System unions, which have been operating under Act 10 since 2011. As expected, a majority of the Court upheld the law, which is no surprise—the conservative ideologues that make up the Court’s majority have reliably sided with Scott Walker and big-money special interests in nearly every major case over the past few years. This decision is aptly summarized by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, in her dissent, which states that "the majority's failure to address the actual issues presented in this case allows it to reach results that countenance the needless diminution of multiple constitutional rights." While I (and our legal counsel) strongly disagree with the Court’s opinion, today’s decision closes the books on the major legal challenges to Act 10. (You can read AFT-Wisconsin’s press release on today’s decision below.)
But since the passage of Act 10, AFT-Wisconsin members have rediscovered the fact that we don’t have to depend on the law to claim our voice in the workplace and in our state. In the last few years, I’ve been inspired by the energy and activism of AFT-Wisconsin members as we advocate for quality education and services, fight for fair treatment in our workplaces, and organize for social justice in our communities. No legislation can take that power away from us.
Today’s decision underscores, however, the crucial need for change in Wisconsin this November. We have an excellent chance to defeat Scott Walker and elect champions to the state legislature that will fight for working Wisconsinites. Will you sign the pledge to vote and take action this fall?
Today’s decision is an unfortunate one, to be sure. But it won’t lessen our resolve or diminish our strength if we remain united.
AFT-WISCONSIN PRESIDENT KIM KOHLHAAS ON MTI V. WALKER: DECISION “UNFORTUNATE, BUT EXPECTED”
Madison, WI: Responding to today’s Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in Madison Teachers, Inc. et al v. Walker et al, AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas, a teacher in the Superior School District, expressed regret in the Court’s decision, but was confident that the members of AFT-Wisconsin and other public sector unions would continue to advocate in their workplaces and in their communities. “Today’s decision in MTI v. Walker was unfortunate, but expected,” said Kohlhaas. “The sad fact is that the same wealthy donors and corrupt CEOs that support Scott Walker were the major funders of the Court’s conservative majority, so we are disappointed—but not surprised—that these justices voted to support Walker’s anti-union, anti-worker legislation. As stated by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in her dissent, which was joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, this decision results in 'the needless diminution of multiple constitutional rights' for Wisconsin workers."
According to Kohlhaas, today’s decision, in which the Court overturned a judge’s 2012 decision that struck down major portions of Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation, won’t diminish the resolve of public sector union members. “Today’s decision doesn’t change much for our members, who are amazing advocates for workers’ voices in their workplaces, strong public services, and high-quality public education. They know that no law or court decision can take away their ability to work together to improve their workplaces, their communities, and their state. Scott Walker, aided by his conservative allies in the Court, may have taken away one of our tools in collective bargaining. But our members know that you can always use other tools to get the job done, and that’s exactly what they’re doing, through meaningful discussions with management, solidarity in their workplaces, and activism in their communities.”