Press Release

Court Delivers Victory for Unions to Protect Democracy in Wisconsin

For Release: 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Sarah Hager Mosby

MADISON, Wis.— In a significant victory for Wisconsin voters, a circuit court judge has ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by AFT-Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, the Service Employees International Union Local 1, and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. 

The suit, filed on behalf of educators, nurses and other working people in the state, challenged the constitutionality of laws enacted by the Republican lame-duck state Legislature following the party’s loss of the governorship in November 2018—laws that attempted to limit Gov. Tony Evers’ power before he assumed office. 

In response to the victory, the union’s leaders issued the following statements: 

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Today, democracy prevailed, as the courts in Wisconsin heeded the will of the voters and stopped the outgoing governor from undermining the duly elected new governor. In November, Wisconsin voters took to the polls and made it clear that they rejected the divisive and regressive politics of Scott Walker. They voted for a better life for all, including affordable healthcare, so no one is one illness from bankruptcy, and for high-quality public education, so every child has access to a brighter future. But the former governor and the lame-duck GOP legislative majority have other ideas. 

Under the cover of night, the Republican lame-duck Legislature tried to fundamentally alter Wisconsin’s government by granting itself powers belonging to a democratically elected governor. This decision tells that handful of legislators: No, no, no—you cannot arbitrarily change laws, nullify the outcome of the election, and silence the voice of the people.”

AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas said: “Our members fought hard to turn the tide of democracy in the midterm election. We voted for Gov. Evers because we knew he could deliver on a promise forgotten during the tenure of Scott Walker—putting the well-being of communities first. Today, with the law on our side, our fight to provide every Wisconsinite with access to a public education, affordable healthcare and a decent job continues.”

Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals President Candice Owley said: “Today’s ruling is a win for the people of Wisconsin, who fight every day for affordable and accessible healthcare. In 2018, voters made their stance clear: Wisconsin will stand up for democracy and not let the power of a few drown out the voices of many. With this decision, we are on the right path to restoring a balance of power in our state politics so that the will of the people can be realized.”

SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin President Ramon Argandona said: “This is a victory for democracy for the working people of Wisconsin. We filed this complaint to ensure that union members and working people who elected Gov. Tony Evers into office have their voices heard and have a fair shot at a decent future. We can’t move forward in Wisconsin when power grabs like this block progress.” 



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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.