Activist Judge sides with public sector unions, again
The people of Wisconsin registered their displeasure with the big spending Democrats last November, but a Republican governor, assembly and senate still face monumental challenges from the minority party, their activist judges and the all-powerful public sector unions who continue to pull the strings and make back-room deals. Nowhere is the power of the union bosses and the Democrat Party more entrenched and powerful than in deep blue Dane County, where the state capitol is located.
On Friday the anti-taxpayer mob was singing and dancing in the streets of Madison after Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order to halt implementation of recently passed reforms to the collective bargaining process. The operative word here is “temporary.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed suit to block the law because he claims that a legislative committee violated the state’s open meetings act (was anyone in the country unaware of the proceedings?). Ozanne, an appointee of long-time union ally Governor Jim Doyle found a willing accomplice in fellow Democrat Maryann Sumi in his attempt to delay the badly needed fiscal reforms.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Means said that the state is exploring its options and may appeal the decision, saying “the reason they have appellate courts is because circuit court judges make errors and they have in this case.” Another course of action would be to re-do the bill and hope that this time the senate Democrats will remain on the job and avoid another temper tantrum. Means said that the state was not really surprised by Sumi’s decision.
The state is well aware of Judge Sumi’s far left advocacy and pro-union sentiments. On February 18, as the state’s Democrat Senators were cowering in Illinois and union protesters were rocking the capitol, Sumi sided with the teacher’s union by denying a Madison School District request to return the teachers to their classrooms.
The already hard-pressed Madison School District had been forced to cancel classes for three days as teachers abandoned their students to take part in anti-taxpayer protests. Under state law, time lost due to the teacher’s unofficial strike must be made up, causing the taxpayers to foot the bill for the additional costs incurred by the teacher’s walkout. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Suni sided with the union because she felt that the walkout didn’t meet her definition of a “strike” and she didn’t feel that the district had suffered significant or “irreparable” harm from the work stoppage.
While Judge Sumi was issuing her temporary restraining order in support of the public sector unions, the city of Madison was adding insult to the taxpayer’s injury by extending union contracts. The State Journal reports:
Amid uncertainty about a state law that sharply curtails collective bargaining, Madison officials on Friday announced tentative contract extensions with more labor unions and promised a special City Council meeting to approve them next week.
The city announced an agreement with its biggest union AFSCME Local 60, on Tuesday, and on Friday announced deals with other AFSCME bargaining units, bus drivers and mechanics, Streets Division and other laborers, stagehands, building and trades and fire supervisors. The unions ratified the contracts this week.
Madison’s major Dave Cieslewicz was pleased to announce that “union protections will be extended for another 15 months – the longest period allowed under state law.” The new contracts also contain language which promised that the city will work with the unions to avoid any layoffs.
If this sounds suspicious, consider the fact that earlier this month while the state’s 14 Democrat Senators were hiding from their elected duties in Illinois, WITI-TV reported:
E-mails obtained by the FOX6 Investigators show that the mayor enlisted the help of State Senator Mark Miller. They both tried to convince the Secretary of State to hold up the bill by taking the maximum 10 days allowed by law before publishing the bill.
They were trying to buy some time so they could ratify new contracts to protect workers from benefit cuts. Citizens for Responsible Government Rep. Chris Kliesmet says, “This suggests, and this is a harsh word, collusion. There is collusion between some politicians and public sector employee unions.
After yesterday’s controversial decision by Judge Sumi to issue a temporary restraining order, there appears to be collusion between the public sector unions, some politicians and at least one circuit court judge. Although the budget repair bill will eventually became law in Wisconsin, the union fat cats and their allies have bought precious time in their war against the taxpayers and their duty elected representatives. Yes, they are singing and dancing in the streets of Madison, and if they make a mess during their celebration…overtime for the cleanup crew!
March 19, 2011