The status of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10

At the risk of repeating myself.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

I'm cool with having a discussion on overtime use in the public sector, but it's kind of a derail here. Do we maybe need another thread?

LouZiffer wrote:

That's incorrect.

No, it is correct. What you are linking is salaries/wages with benefits and I'm not arguing that fact. Do any of those pay time and a half for overtime?

Most of what you linked are salaries. Show me full time wage/salary jobs (an abundant amount please) where you get your full time pay, your benefits AND time and a half over 40 hours a week that is not a government position.

PAR

At the risk of repeating myself.

Hmm. I don't think I'd call that a risk, exactly, Dimmer.

Robear wrote:

Wages lower; benefits better. Seems like a reasonable trade-off.

And I agree... I honestly do. But I do think there is an issue w/ combining that with overtime pay when/if there is enough work available to hire others. Especially when we are in a supposed job crisis.

PAR

par wrote:

Most of what you linked are salaries. Show me full time wage/salary jobs (an abundant amount please) where you get your full time pay, your benefits AND time and a half over 40 hours a week that is not a government position.

Employees at McDonald's get benefits. Honestly, it's difficult to find a full time hourly job that doesn't.

LouZiffer wrote:
par wrote:

Most of what you linked are salaries. Show me full time wage/salary jobs (an abundant amount please) where you get your full time pay, your benefits AND time and a half over 40 hours a week that is not a government position.

Employees at McDonald's get benefits. Honestly, it's difficult to find a full time hourly job that doesn't.

I swear the obvious is just completely ignored. Over time? That's what this whole conversation is about!

McDonald's STAFFS enough workers so there is NO overtime. If there is some people who miss their shifts, guess what, the others pick up the slack and do overtime but the company does everything they can to avoid it. And if employees do get overttime the manager is usually reprimanded (not sure about McDonalds but I'm very sure about other fast food chains like Wendy's).

Since you're going to continue to ignore what I'm writing I'll just let you continue your fantasy. Seriously, I don't mind debating and I really dont mind stating when I am wrong but at least I dont completely ignore the context of what the conversation is about in order to get my point across.

PAR

PAR... thanks for the ride.

EDIT: More importantly, sorry about the derail Dimmerswitch.

par wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:
par wrote:

Most of what you linked are salaries. Show me full time wage/salary jobs (an abundant amount please) where you get your full time pay, your benefits AND time and a half over 40 hours a week that is not a government position.

Employees at McDonald's get benefits. Honestly, it's difficult to find a full time hourly job that doesn't.

I swear the obvious is just completely ignored. Over time? That's what this whole conversation is about!

McDonald's STAFFS enough workers so there is NO overtime. If there is some people who miss their shifts, guess what, the others pick up the slack and do overtime but the company does everything they can to avoid it. And if employees do get overttime the manager is usually reprimanded (not sure about McDonalds but I'm very sure about other fast food chains like Wendy's).

Since you're going to continue to ignore what I'm writing I'll just let you continue your fantasy. Seriously, I don't mind debating and I really dont mind stating when I am wrong but at least I dont completely ignore the context of what the conversation is about in order to get my point across.

PAR

What? You make no sense here. In both situations, if overtime is worked, overtime gets paid. In one situation, the employer is free to hire the people they need to get the job done. In the other, people are able to make policies for political reasons saying "you can't hire more people"--but there's still work to be done, and the people who make those policies [em]can't[/em] disallow overtime pay, so the jobs end up under-staffed and inefficiently make up the difference with overtime.

The problem is not that government jobs are special and that the workers are somehow being "let" take overtime as special treatment, it's that politicians tie the hands of government employers for political reasons and leave them in a situation where the only way to get the work done is to have people work overtime.

LouZiffer wrote:

PAR... thanks for the ride.

EDIT: More importantly, sorry about the derail Dimmerswitch.

No man, you got nothing to be sorry for. Apparently I was the only one talking about overtime + benefits + salary/wages.

So Dimmer, I apologize and the following is only to respond to Hypatian.

Hypatian, you are right, I contradicted myself there w/out explaining. Yes, by LAW if someone works overtime and they are wage (hourly) the company has to pay time and a half but I tried to point out that most companies (that I know of anyway) do everything they can to limit the amount of overtime worked simply because they are also paying the benefits on top of the wage.

Salary on the other hand... forget time and a half if you work 80 hours.

PAR

Yup. It just happens to be in this weird place where there are wacky policy constraints that make hiring more people much more difficult than paying people overtime. Of course, when brouhaha like this current stuff starts, you begin to wonder how long it will be until ten people have to do the work of 15 *without* being allowed to work overtime. (Or perhaps without being paid for it, since government jobs are so cushy they should work more hours!)

At various places I've worked there've been different weird constraints--for sound policy reasons at one point, but where the reasons are lost. I've been in some situations where hiring more people is easier than buying the existing people the equipment they need to get the job done. I've been in other situations where buying more equipment is trivial, but hiring more people is nearly impossible. And in both of those, it wasn't about the money--the more obvious approach in each case was the cheaper one--the more expensive solution was the only one available because of a legacy policy that was created because of some bad things that happened in the past. And that's not even in government, so it does happen other places, too.

I didn't realize you were saying that private companies attempted to avoid making workers work overtime, I thought you were saying that workers for private companies had to work overtime without "cushy" overtime pay.

Yonder wrote:

I didn't realize you were saying that private companies attempted to avoid making workers work overtime, I thought you were saying that workers for private companies had to work overtime without "cushy" overtime pay.

Same here. Along with showing that yes, hourly jobs commonly have benefits I was trying to put forth the argument that these aren't cushy jobs, too. Act 10 helps to strip away protections which keep these jobs somewhat equal with private sector jobs in terms of total compensation (lower wages, but higher benefits). Over the next couple of years, things are going to get even uglier in Wisconsin.

Most of what you linked are salaries. Show me full time wage/salary jobs (an abundant amount please) where you get your full time pay, your benefits AND time and a half over 40 hours a week that is not a government position.

Systems Engineers and probably other technical positions in Silicon Valley companies have typically moved to hourly plus overtime with benefits after a lawsuit in 2003 and another in 2006. The claim was that the amount of overtime required to do one's job - in this case, as a travelling instructor - meant that the employee was not actually earning the hourly wage his salary supposedly conferred. When the suit was resolved, Oracle and other high tech companies switched highly paid technical employees to hourly and overtime.

At the risk of repeating myself.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

At the risk of repeating myself.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

I'm cool with having a discussion on overtime use in the public sector, but it's kind of a derail here. Do we maybe need another thread?

Hey, check it out - a thread on overtime and salary of your very own!

Well now, this was unexpected.

Wisconsin State Journal[/url]]Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to vacate its decision upholding the controversial law curtailing collective bargaining rights for most public workers — and to do it without Justice Michael Gableman.

Ozanne asked the court to revisit its June 14 decision after reports surfaced that Gableman had received free legal services from lawyer Eric McLeod of the Madison law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, who helped defend the collective bargaining law before the high court as lawyer for state Department of Administration Secretary Michael Huebsch.

The value of the services Justice Gableman received is disputed, but are reasonably estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel[/url]]State officials are barred from receiving anything of value because of their position under state law. And the state's judicial ethics code bars judges from accepting gifts from those who are likely to appear before them. Gableman made substantive rulings in nine cases involving Michael Best while he was being represented by the firm and in the year and a half since then. He recused himself from a 10th case.

In the nine cases, he ruled in Michael Best's interests five times, more than any other justice. In two of the cases, he was in a 4-3 majority; in another case, his vote led to a tie. In the four cases in which he voted against Michael Best clients, the votes were not close.

Emphasis added. The irony, of course, is that the free representation Justice Gableman received was for a case involving ethics violations.

The Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct, SCR 60.04 (4) (warning, PDF link) reads:

Except as provided in sub. (6) for waiver, a judge shall recuse himself or herself in a proceeding when the facts and circumstances the judge knows or reasonably should know establish one of the following or when reasonable, well-informed persons knowledgeable about judicial ethics standards and the justice system and aware of the facts and circumstances the judge knows or reasonably should know would reasonably question the judge's ability to be impartial

However, Wisconsin Law §757.19 appears to leave judges a lot of personal leeway when determining when they should recuse themselves. I'm not a lawyer, but given that the State Supreme Court completely ignored the clearly-written and applicable text of §19.84 in issuing their June 14th decision about 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, I don't think there's much chance of DA Ozanne's filing getting a whole lot of traction.

As expected, Justice Gableman has declined to recuse himself on Ozanne's case to re-open State v. Circuit Court for Dane County / Ismael R. Ozanne v. Jeff Fitzgerald (the Wisconsin 2011 Act 10 case), in spite of the fact that one of the Walker administration's attorneys in that case was Justice Gableman's own lawyer in the ethics case.

Justice Gableman also declined to recuse himself from a case involving the GOP redistricting plans, which were drawn up by (wait for it) Michael Best & Friedrich.

Ismael Ozanne is a persistent man. Today, DA Ozanne filed papers (warning, PDF) requesting that the State Supreme Court should force recusal of Justice Gableman, and re-hear the 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 case.

[Edit to add: "MBF" in the quote below is Michael Best & Friedrich]

Justice Gableman decided not to claim that his arrangement with MBF was a legitimate fee arrangemend and instead chose to recast the clearly stated ground in the District Attorney's Motion. Justice Gableman ignored the allegations raised against him and chose to not decide the Motion. Court precedent requires this Court to determine whether it will accept Justice Gableman's Order dated January 20, 2012 as his determination of the issue, even though he has not explained or discussed how a Justice could receive free legal services from a law firm, yet still appear impartial on subsequent matters in which that law firm represented a party in front of him. This Court has clearly reserved for itself the authority to force its members to address recusal requests to honor both Wisconsin law and the public's faith in this Court's impartiality. Justice Gableman's failure to provide a transparent examination of the issue violates both Wisconsin law and the public strust.

Since the Court seems to have reliably split along ideological lines in everything pertaining to this case, I'm not sure what the goal here is. The best case would seem to be having Gableman recuse himself on this request (but not on 2011 Wisconsin Act 10), at which point the Court would deadlock 3-3. I'd expect that a deadlock would mean that Justice Gableman's decision wouldn't be overruled.

DA Ozanne doesn't strike me as a dumb guy, so maybe there's some parliamentary procedure angle or something he's looking at with this filing?

Well, this is a post I didn't expect to write.

Wisconsin State Journal[/url]]A federal judge on Friday upheld most of Gov. Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining law, but struck down key parts of it by ruling that the state cannot prevent public employee unions from collecting voluntary dues through payroll deductions and cannot require they recertify annually.

The collective bargaining law, also known as Act 10, established a system in which most of the public unions were required to have an "absolute" majority of their members vote every year to recertify — a standard higher than traditionally used. The law also took away some unions' rights to collect mandatory dues and prevented unions from deducting voluntary dues directly out of employee paychecks.

The measure did, however, exempt almost all public safety unions, such as police and firefighters. This difference led the court on Friday to rule that the state did not have the right to pick and choose among public unions.

"So long as the state of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights," the order read.

Full text of ruling (warning, PDF)

I'm glad to see the federal government stepping in and forcing them to treat all unions fairly. It's too bad that a lot of damage has already been done. In the single city district of Platteville alone (NOT a big district), more than 30 teachers have chosen retirement over losing their health benefits. My mother-in-law is among them. Not one of those teachers had planned to retire this year.

"Hey, Governor, what is that grafitto outside your office? Mene tekel upharsin?"

"...I dunno, I don't read Russian..."

"Gives me the creeps, it does... Let's get it off of there pronto."

Wisconsin judge strikes down law banning collective bargaining rights.

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120915/NEWS03/309159934/1006/NEWS

Yeah, we'll see what happens to it when it hits the Wisconsin Supreme Court...

Been busy with work, but wanted to also note that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is in front of a federal appeals court this week down in Chicago.

The Chicago hearing comes on the heels of a March 30 ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley in the Madison-based Western District of Wisconsin deeming both provisions illegal. He left the majority of the law untouched.

The 2011 law — a centerpiece of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's agenda — set off pitched political battles in Wisconsin and shined a national spotlight on the state. It focused attention on the question of public-sector unions, whether and how to rein them in.

The case in the Chicago court is one of at least three pending in state or federal courts. On Sept. 14, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas threw out major parts of the law, including the dues and elections provisions. Attorneys for the state also are appealing that ruling, and Colas is expected to rule next week on the state's request to put his ruling on hold during the appeal.

The federal panel in Chicago on Monday did not signal when it might rule, though it typically takes at least several weeks — and sometimes much longer — for it to release opinions after oral arguments.

Yesterday, Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas refused to stay his ruling which overturned portions of Act 10, noting that the state had both failed to show that there would be any harm caused by his ruling remaining in effect pending appeal, or that workers would not suffer any harm if Act 10 were reinstated until the inevitable appeal was ruled on.

In his ruling, Colas emphasized that his September decision was narrowly tailored and struck down only certain statutes related to the state collective bargaining law.

"The decision only requires municipal employers to bargain in good faith," Colas wrote. "Nothing in it requires employers to agree to any proposals made in collective bargaining."

He also wrote that his decision did not restore binding arbitration. And it doesn't require employers to offer payroll deduction of union dues if they don't currently have such a system, he wrote, but instead lets local governments choose to do so.

Don't think this quite deserves a thread of its own, and figured this is the closest fit of the various Wisconsin threads.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel[/url]]With some of their major legislative achievements thwarted by the courts in the past two years, Wisconsin Republicans are advancing a bill that would limit the ability of circuit judges to block state laws for the long term.

A former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice said she thought such a change would violate the state constitution - a notion a chief sponsor of the bill rejected.

Since 2011, circuit judges have blocked all or parts of laws backed by Republicans that required voters to show photo ID at the polls, limited collective bargaining for public employees and expanded the governor's power over administrative rules. Under a measure announced Wednesday, such injunctions would be automatically stayed as soon as they were appealed - meaning laws that were blocked would be put back in effect until a higher court issued a ruling.

Rep. David Craig (R-Big Bend), a chief sponsor of the measure, said the bill would provide stability. He noted that challenges to state laws are ultimately decided by higher courts in many instances.

"We're trying to speed up the process," Craig said. "One judge elected by one extremely small fraction of the state . . . isn't going to have ultimate say-so over law."

But former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske called the bill an outrageous violation of the judiciary's power.

"To statutorily undo a court order before another court has acted on it is clearly to me an infringement on a court's independence, and I don't think it will withstand constitutional scrutiny," said Geske, who is now a Marquette University Law School professor.

Geske was appointed to the high court by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1993 and served until 1998.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

Don't think this quite deserves a thread of its own, and figured this is the closest fit of the various Wisconsin threads.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel[/url]]With some of their major legislative achievements thwarted by the courts in the past two years, Wisconsin Republicans are advancing a bill that would limit the ability of circuit judges to block state laws for the long term.

A former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice said she thought such a change would violate the state constitution - a notion a chief sponsor of the bill rejected.

Since 2011, circuit judges have blocked all or parts of laws backed by Republicans that required voters to show photo ID at the polls, limited collective bargaining for public employees and expanded the governor's power over administrative rules. Under a measure announced Wednesday, such injunctions would be automatically stayed as soon as they were appealed - meaning laws that were blocked would be put back in effect until a higher court issued a ruling.

Rep. David Craig (R-Big Bend), a chief sponsor of the measure, said the bill would provide stability. He noted that challenges to state laws are ultimately decided by higher courts in many instances.

"We're trying to speed up the process," Craig said. "One judge elected by one extremely small fraction of the state . . . isn't going to have ultimate say-so over law."

But former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske called the bill an outrageous violation of the judiciary's power.

"To statutorily undo a court order before another court has acted on it is clearly to me an infringement on a court's independence, and I don't think it will withstand constitutional scrutiny," said Geske, who is now a Marquette University Law School professor.

Geske was appointed to the high court by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1993 and served until 1998.

Judge: Hey, that is incredibly unconstitutional, stop that.
State Defendant: Appeal, now I can keep doing unconstitutional things for yeeeeeeeears while we drag this out! Yay!

*rolls eyes* The whole point of the Stay is to stop things that may be interpreted as unconstitutional until further review can clarify. It is caution to avoid people being harmed by a law that there is potential they never should have been subjected to in the first place.

Either way, I love the idea of an elected official thinking it's a good idea to limit the power of another elected official for more of his own power. All of his accusations about these imaginary judges out to destroy his preferred legislation (regardless of the legal and constitutional ramifications) actually seems to work pretty well to describe him instead! Irony!

Well, I assume Wisconsin affords their legislator similar powers over the courts that our own constitution does.

Now, saying inferior courts do not have jurisdiction over state constitutional matters is an interesting one. Because I am not sure, even with a stacked court if a speed lane to the state supreme court is best. States judges, even supremely conservative ones, tend to get more progressive/populist near elections.

KingGorilla just reminded me in the redistricting thread that I'd neglected to update this thread with the outcome of the 7th Circuit Court case. That case was heard in January, and resulted in a 2-1 ruling upholding Governor Walker's marquee piece of legislation.

Seven public employee unions, including WEAC and the Wisconsin State Employees Union, filed suit in federal court challenging the provisions of Act 10 that limit collective bargaining to base wages only, enact burdensome recertification requirements, and prohibit the payroll deduction of dues by state and local government. The unions argued that these provisions violated the Equal Protections clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because of the differential treatment between general employees and public safety employees. They also challenged the limits on dues deductions based on the First Amendment, claiming that certain public unions were targeted because they failed to endorse Scott Walker for governor in 2010 or endorsed his Democratic opponent, Tom Barrett.

Judge Joel L. Flaum, a Ronald Reagan-era appointee, authored the decision with a concurrence from Gerald Ford appointee William J. Butler. In favor of the state of Wisconsin, Flaum ruled that portions of Act 10 limiting automatic dues check-offs and recertification for some public sector unions do not violate the First Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Judge David F. Hamilton, a Clinton appointee, while largely concurring with the majority, offered a partial dissent in the case. In defense of the unions’ institutional interests, Hamilton wrote that the provisions limiting automatic dues check-off and a recertification process that requires a majority vote from all eligible voters amount to viewpoint discrimination and violate the unions’ First Amendment rights, since there is a “close correlation between various unions’ political endorsement in the 2010 Wisconsin governor’s race and their ability to continue payroll deduction.”

Hamilton also noted the undemocratic nature of requiring a majority of eligible voters, rather than a majority of those actually voting, for unions to gain recertification. If such rules were applied to a presidential election, considering current voting patterns in the United States, the leading candidate would only get about one third of the eligible votes.

The Seventh Circuit Court’s decision overturns a ruling last year by US District Judge William M. Conley that upheld most of Act 10, while ruling against the prohibitions on the deduction of dues from payroll and requirements for yearly recertification of unions by a majority of eligible voters. Conley upheld the creation of two separate categories of public workers.