Wisconsin Teacher Unions seek to Intervene in support of Governor’s health orders

Riley Vetterkind:

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday swiftly rejected an attempt by employee unions to help defend Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order in court.

The four unions on Tuesday filed a motion to intervene as parties in a lawsuit the Republican Legislature brought last Tuesday to suspend the governor’s “safer at home” order. Doing so would have allowed the unions’ arguments to be heard in court.

But the conservative-dominated court, just hours after the unions submitted their filings, unanimously dismissed the request without providing an explanation. The court’s action could indicate trouble ahead for Evers’ executive order, especially since it has previously sided against Evers in other high-profile cases. Most recently, the court struck down Evers’ order delaying the April 7 election due to COVID-19.

In their motion to join the case, the unions — the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, Madison Teachers Inc., SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 — argued the Legislature does not have the constitutional authority to be a party in the case and that the case does not meet the criteria for the Supreme Court to take it up.

The unions, which represent teachers, health care and transit workers, said Evers’ order protects them by preventing the spread of COVID-19 at schools, keeping hospitals from overflowing and ensuring health care workers get personal protective equipment. If the court revokes the order, as Republicans want, they said they fear infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths from the respiratory disease will increase and the economy will be threatened even further.

Related: $1.57 million for four state Senators.