UPDATE: Attorney General asks for stay in Act 10 ruling Tuesday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Attorney General asks for stay in Act 10 ruling Tuesday

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Four days after a Dane County judge restored collective bargaining rights for municipal employees, the Department of Justice is trying to stop the ruling from going into effect just yet.

Dane County Judge Juan Colas ruled Friday in favor of unions representing Madison teachers and Milwaukee city employees, saying it's unconstitutional to prevent municipal union workers from negotiating things like wages while non-union workers are free to do so under Act 10.

"I believe it's a clearly flawed legal analysis," says Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

He and the Department of Justice want to put Colas' ruling on hold while they challenge it in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

The Attorney General's office filed a motion to stay on Tuesday. It argues the ruling will likely be overturned on an appeal and a stay is necessary to avoid confusion.

"If, because of this decision, [collective bargaining] becomes unlimited again and we have potential strikes and loss of services or we have payments of benefits above and beyond what the law permitted, it is very difficult to undo those strikes, or undo those loss of services or get those benefits back from those who got them contrary to what the law should have been," Van Hollen says.

He says he's hoping for a ruling this week, but an attorney representing Madison Teachers Incorporated is challenging Van Hollen's motion.

"Once the finding is made that constitutional rights are being infringed, to suggest that because some people might have some trouble figuring out how to do a few things it trumps the constitutional rights of thousands of people—that's a weak argument," says attorney Lester Pines.

If Judge Colas agrees with Pines, Van Hollen can still ask an appeals court judge to uphold Act 10 until it rules in the case.

In the meantime, the executive director for MTI sent a letter to the Madison school board, formally requesting to start negotiations on new contracts to go into effect July 1, 2013.

The school board has yet to respond.

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MADISON (WKOW -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed a request Tuesday to put the recent ruling on collective bargaining rights on hold.

The motion, which was filed with the Dane County Circuit Court, asks that the decision be stayed pending an appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. It argues that the decision is likely to be overturned on appeal and that a stay is needed to avoid confusion.  

If the ruling is not put on hold, it could open the door to unions negotiating new contracts with employers while the legal fight continues.

Both sides have said they are struggling to understand the ramifications of the ruling that came down late Friday afternoon.

Regarding the motion, Van Hollen said, "Act 10 addressed real and significant financial problems faced by local governments. It makes no sense to force a return to a broken system before the appellate process is completed." 
 
Van Hollen's Department of Justice is representing Governor Scott Walker in the case that was brought by the Madison teachers union and a union representing city of Milwaukee workers.
 
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MADISON (WKOW -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is expected to ask for a stay in the recent ruling on collective bargaining rights.

Friday a judge ruled Act 10 is unconstitutional, essentially reinstating collective bargaining rights for schools and local governments. But Van Hollen says he'll file a request Tuesday asking the ruling be put on hold while an appeal is pending.

The Department of Justice is representing Governor Scott Walker in the case that was brought by the Madison teachers union and a union representing city of Milwaukee workers.

If the ruling is not put on hold, it could open the door to unions negotiating new contracts. In fact, the Madison teachers union says it plans to ask the school district Tuesday to start negotiating a new deal.

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