School district employees received some encouraging news prior to winter break. Wisconsin school employees chose “UNION” by large margins. Between November 29 and December 19, 2013 the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) conducted recertification elections for over 500 local unions representing over 56,000 classroom teachers, clerical/technical workers, educational assistants, bus drivers, custodial workers and other school district employees. Over 98% of those voting, voted Union YES!
Of the 39,872 total votes cast, 39,107 voted to recertify their union, with only 765 (less than 2%) voting against recertification. Annual union recertification elections are mandated by Governor Walker’s Act 10. In his ruling in MTI’s lawsuit, Judge Colas found requiring such elections to be unconstitutional. That decision was reversed by the Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Abrahamson and Justice Walsh Bradley expressing strong dissent, in a 26 page opinion. Not surprisingly, Dane County school districts had a particularly strong showing; Monona Grove teachers had nearly 90% of all eligible voters cast ballots and, of those, nearly 96% voted Union YES. But it wasn’t only the Dane County districts that voted Union. Even those school districts in largely conservative counties voted affirmatively. Waukesha teachers voted 648-14 to maintain their Union as their certified bargaining agent; Wauwatosa teachers 367-7; and West Allis Educational Assistants voted 47-1. The largest school districts in the state also enthusiastically voted Union YES. Appleton Substitute teachers voted 159-2; La Crosse Secretaries voted 40-0; Milwaukee teachers voted 3,728-35 and Milwaukee Ed Assistants voted 875-10.