Lawyers representing several state unions filed a motion Tuesday asking that a court hold the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in contempt of court for continuing to require union recertification elections.
The motion asks that Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas hold WERC chairman James Scott and commissioner Rodney Pasch in contempt of court for going ahead with recertification elections despite a finding by Colas last year that portions of a law that require unions to hold annual recertification elections was unconstitutional.
Last week, Colas also ruled that the state is bound by his Sept. 14, 2012, decision and “may not enforce ... under any circumstances, against anyone” the portions of the law that he found unconstitutional.
The recertification requirement is part of Act 10, the law passed in 2011 that sharply curtailed most collective bargaining rights for most municipal and school workers.
On Monday, Scott wrote in a two-sentence letter to union lawyers following a closed-door meeting that WERC does not believe it is in contempt of any court order by going ahead with the recertification elections.
The unions are asking Colas to order the state to stop refusing to comply with the court’s orders and to stop preparing for recertification elections. They’re also asking that all fees collected by the state for the recertification elections be refunded, and that Scott and Pasch “personally” pay a forfeiture of up to $2,000 per day that they fail to comply with the court’s orders, along with attorney fees and costs.
“Scott and Pasch must not be allowed to continue their contemptuous course of conduct,” the lawyers wrote in a brief supporting their motion. “Their contemptuous behavior is unprecedented. It displays an utter disrespect and contempt for the judiciary. The court cannot allow such contemptuous behavior to stand.”
The unions asking for the contempt order are the Wisconsin Education Association Council, AFT-Wisconsin, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Care Professionals, AFSCME District 40 and the Kenosha Education Association.