On June 26, 2013, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) re-initiated the annual union certification election rules and submitted them to Governor Walker for review and approval. The WERC’s emergency administrative rules were adopted pursuant to Sec. 227.24(1)1g, Stats. The approved rules will not be applicable to plaintiffs in Madison Teachers, Inc., et al. v. Scott Walker, et al., No. 11CV3774 (Dane Co.), certification granted by WI Supreme Court No. 2012AP2067, unless and until the Dane County Circuit Court’s decision is no longer in effect. For all other public employers, the WERC rules will apply once they become final.
The rules cover three categories of employees:
- Chapter ERC 70 – general school district employees
- Chapter ERC 71 – general municipal employees
- Chapter ERC 80 – state general employees
The proposed rules were approved by the Governor on July 3, 2013 but will not take effect until published in the Wisconsin State Journal. The publication is anticipated on July 13, 2013.
The rules are the same as those that existed previously with one exception: the filing date for general school district employees was advanced from September 30 to August 30.State employees will also be subject to the August 30 recertification date. General municipal employees have until January 30 to file for recertification. The draft rules will be applied prospectively. The WERC has decided not to apply the rules retroactively to the unions that may have missed filing deadlines while the issue was being litigated.
The burden to file the petition rests with the labor organization. Failure to do so results in the decertification of the labor organization as the exclusive representative of employees in the bargaining unit. Upon receipt of a petition, the employer has 10 days to furnish personnel information to the WERC so it is able to conduct a secret ballot election. At least 51% of bargaining unit employees eligible to vote must vote in favor of the labor organization or it will be deemed decertified.
The rules can be reviewed on the WERC’s website at http://www.werc.wi.gov.