Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants an appeals court to stay a Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas' ruling that found parts of a law limiting collective bargaining for public workers were unconstitutional. Several counties are calling for the same action.
When Judge Colas declared Act 10 unconstitutional, local governments and school boards were left with unanswered questions. The decision allowed locals to bargain with unions over wages but didn’t say what was included in that definition. And since the ruling is being appealed governments don’t know whether or not their union contracts will be voided. Now, counties are passing resolutions urging Judge Colas to stay his decision until the appeals process is over. Washburn County Board Chair Steve Sather introduced a resolution urging Colas to wait saying that returning to the status quo prior to Act 10 may lead to mass layoffs, “It’s a major fiscal impact if we have to undo the sections of Act 10 and Act 32 that this judge deems that we have to undo, basically giving the union back all of their rights.”
The Brown County Board of Supervisors passed a similar resolution this week. Tom DeWane was one of four supervisors to vote against sending the resolution to Colas, “It was a resolution that we didn’t need to send forward. They’re going to do their jobs. It’s going to go from one court to another and I think we just need to sit back and watch how things turn out.”
Judge Colas has said he will not stay his decision.
The Wisconsin Counties Association has also weighed in saying that it would be prudent for counties to weigh the legal questions from the ruling and the possibility that it may be overturned before negotiating with unions.