Madison NBC television affiliate WMTV tweeted the following a short while ago:
Tonight, the Madison School Board has decided to start collectively bargaining with the teachers' union.Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's signature piece of union-busting legislation ("Act 10") passed last year but was overturned by a Wisconsin judge on Friday, September 14th of this year. Judge Juan Colas declared most of the act null and void after he determined several provisions were in violation of the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions.
Madison Teachers, Inc., the union that represents Madison public school teachers, was a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit against the state, and immediately requested that the board of the Madison Metropolitan School District reopen negotiations to revise and extend the contract that is due to expire at the end of the current school year. The current contract contains a number of changes that the union agreed to last year under pressure to do a deal before the legislation originally took effect.
The school board met this evening and apparently decided to begin bargaining for a new contract.
This is a major victory for Madison Teachers, Inc. and for public employee unions in the state of Wisconsin.
Last week, the Dane County Board voted to extend contracts with most of its unions. The city of Madison also reached new agreements with its largest employee union, AFSCME Local 60. The new contracts are expected to be ratified and approved this week.
Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General has promised an appeal of the recent ruling and has asked for a stay until the appeals are completed. So far the judge has not granted the stay, giving local governments a window to negotiate and sign new contracts with their employee unions. Even if Act 10 is eventually upheld, its provisions will not affect any contracts already in place.
The battle for Wisconsin is a slow, uphill slog but we are gaining ground. Recall elections resulted in the flipping of the state Senate from Republican to Democratic control. Various state and federal lawsuits against Act 10 are beginning to bear fruit. Scott Walker and many of his current staff are scheduled to appear soon as witnesses in the corruption trial of one of Walker's former aides, which could make for some very interesting legal maneuvering by Walker. Walker is largely believed to be the biggest target in a two-year-old John Doe investigation that originally brought charges against the aide and others but is still ongoing. Most observers expect Walker to face charges eventually.