- David Novak, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his oath, the court will have one vacancy, five Republican-appointed judges, and five Democrat-appointed judges.
- Frank Volk, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his oath, the court will have no vacancies, two Republican-appointed judges, and three Democrat-appointed judges.
- Charles Eskridge III, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his oath, the court will have one vacancy, 10 Republican-appointed judges, and eight Democrat-appointed judges.
- Rachel Kovner, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. After she receives her judicial commission and takes her oath, the court will have four vacancies, five Republican-appointed judges, and six Democrat-appointed judges.
- 19 school board seats in five school districts
- Mayor of Wichita
- Three of six seats on the Wichita City Council
- One statewide ballot measure
- Circle USD 375
- Goddard USD 265
- Haysville USD 261
- Maize USD 266
- Wichita Public Schools
In a 5-2 decision issued Oct. 9, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the city of Brainerd engaged in unfair labor practices when it restructured the fire department. The city eliminated the positions of five full-time fire equipment operato
rs who were members of Firefighters Union Local 4725. The move effectively dissolved the union.
Who are the parties to the suit?
The plaintiff, Firefighters Union Local 4725, et al., was represented by Meyer Njus Tanick, PA. The defendant, the city of Brainerd, was represented by Everett & VanderWiel, P.L.L.P.
What was at issue?
Firefighters Union Local 4725 sued the city of Brainerd after it eliminated five union positions. The Crow Wing County District Court ruled in favor of the city. However, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the ruling, finding that Minn. Stat. § 179A.13 prohibited the city from interfering with the existence of employee organizations and therefore that the city had engaged in unfair labor practice.
The city appealed the case to the state supreme court, arguing that the restructuring was authorized under Minn. Stat. § 179A.07 as “inherent managerial policy.”
- In Minnesota, there is a state supreme court, a state court of appeals, and a district court system.
How did the court rule?
In the majority opinion, Justice David Lillehaug wrote, “Although our reasoning differs in part from that of the court of appeals, we hold that the City engaged in an unfair labor practice prohibited by Minn. Stat. § 179A.13, subd. 2(2). Therefore, we affirm the court of appeals’ decision that the district court erred by failing to grant summary judgment to the Local on the PELRA claim.”
Chief Justice Lorie Gildea and Justice Barry Anderson dissented. Gildea wrote in her dissent that “the majority prioritizes the protections in section 179A.13 and nullifies the powers in section 179A.07. Because the majority departs from our obligation to give effect to both statutes, I respectfully dissent.”
- In Minnesota, supreme court justices are elected to six-year terms in nonpartisan elections. In the event of a vacancy, the governor appoints a replacement who must then stand for election at the next general election at least one year after the appointment. Currently, five justices on the court were appointed by a Democratic governor and two justices were appointed by a Republican governor. This case was decided along party lines.
What are the responses?
- Attorney Marshall Tanick, who represented the union, said the case “upholds the sanctity of contracts in the workplace for labor unions and all working people for that matter.”
- Attorney Pamela VanderWiel, who represented the city, said, “I think with every subsequent decision we’ve gotten, the law has gotten more confusing, rather than easier to apply.”
What comes next?
According to the Brainerd Dispatch, “With the reversal by the Minnesota Supreme Court, the case will go back to the Brainerd district courtroom for a decision on a remedy.”
The big picture
Number of relevant bills by state
We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.
Number of relevant bills by current legislative status
Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)
Recent legislative actions
Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.
- California AB314: This bill would require employers to grant employees paid time off for certain union activities.
- Vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 12, 2019.
- John Tunheim – nominated by President William J. Clinton (D)
- Patrick Schiltz – nominated by President George W. Bush (R)
- Susan Richard Nelson – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
- Wilhelmina M. Wright – nominated by President Barack Obama (D)
- Nancy E. Brasel – nominated by President Donald J. Trump (R)
- Eric Tostrud – nominated by President Donald J. Trump (R)
- Michael James Davis – nominated by President William J. Clinton (D)
- Richard Kyle – nominated by President George H.W. Bush (R)
- David Doty – nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R)
- Paul Magnuson – nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R)
- Donovan Frank – nominated by President William J. Clinton (D)
- Ann Montgomery – nominated by President William J. Clinton (D)
- Donald Alsop – nominated by President Richard Nixon (R)
- 47 school board seats in 16 school districts
- Five of 10 seats on the Aurora City Council
- Mayor of Aurora
- Three of nine seats on the Colorado Springs City Council
- Mayor of Colorado Springs
- All 13 Denver City Council seats
- Mayor, city auditor, and city clerk and recorder of Denver
- A recall election in Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1
- Academy School District 20
- Adams 12 Five Star Schools
- Aurora Public Schools
- Bennett School District
- Cherry Creek School District
- Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
- Colorado Springs School District 11
- Denver Public Schools
- Douglas County School District
- Falcon School District 49
- Harrison School District Two
- Jeffco Public Schools
- Manitou Springs School District 14
- School District 27J
- St. Vrain Valley School District
- Widefield School District 3
- Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue above the state spending cap to provide funding for transportation and education. The state is currently required to refund the revenue under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
- Proposition DD would authorize sports betting in Colorado and authorize the legislature to levy a tax of 10% on those conducting sports betting operations. Revenue generated from the tax on sports betting would be used to create and fund the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund. Voters will also decide on local ballot measures.