Unions' attempt to join legal battle over Safer at Home extension denied

NOW: Unions’ attempt to join legal battle over Safer at Home extension denied

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – A group of unions filed to intervene in the ongoing legal battle over the Evers administration’s extension of the Safer at Home order but it was denied by the state Supreme Court Tuesday afternoon.

The group included the Milwaukee and Madison teachers’ unions, a branch of the SEIU representing health care workers and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998. The group attempted to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit that was filed by the republican-controlled Legislature against the Evers administration.

The GOP argues DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm should not have indefinite powers to shut down operations of private businesses. The aim of the lawsuit is to block the governor’s extension of the order and have the Legislature have a bigger say in how the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the group of unions argued the Safer at Home order protects the workers they represent and ending it prematurely puts them and the public at risk.

“[Republicans in the Legislature] want to run to the Supreme Court because they think the Supreme Court’s in their back pocket and will do whatever they want, and I think they’re going to be sorely disabused,” Lester Pines, the attorney representing the group of unions said in a video conference Tuesday. “The people that deserve a seat at the table are the people that are directly affected by this pandemic and that’s the frontline workers that are represented by these unions and we are going to do our best to ensure that they get to be heard.”

Tuesday was also the deadline for the Evers administration to file their response to the GOP lawsuit. The Supreme Court could decide as early as this week whether or not to take up the case.

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