Shocking Reversal In WI Supreme Court Race, and Other Labor News

Lindsay Beyerstein

Down to the wire: incumbent David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

This week’s State Supreme Court election in Wisconsin became a de facto referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union collective bargaining law.

Democratic challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory over Republican incumbent David Prosser on Wednesday. On Thursday, a county clerk revealed that 14,315 votes from the city of Brookfield that had gone uncounted because she had forgotten to save them” on her personal computer. The Brookfield tallies show 10,859 votes for Prosser and 3,456 Kloppenburg.

At the end of the statewide canvassing, Prosser netted 7,582 ahead of his opponent. If those results are legitimate, they give Prosser the .5% margin of victory he needs to avoid a state-financed recount. The Waukesha county clerk who claimed responsibility for tabulating the votes incorrectly is a former Republican party employee who has been criticized for mishandling previous elections.

Clerk Kathy Nickolaus used to work for Prosser when he was a state assemblyman. In 2002, she was granted immunity to testify about potential GOP campaign finance violations. Since taking her job as county clerk, Nickoloaus has been warned repeatedly that her habit of hoarding vote tallies on her personal computer put the security of election results in jeopardy.

Walker has hired high-profile election lawyer Ben Ginsberg for the Prosser fight. Ginsberg worked for Bush-Cheney in the Florida recount of 2000 and for Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in his unsuccessful 2008 recount battle with now-Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

Government shutdown looms

If the federal government shuts down for lack of funding next week, as it appears poised to do, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be affected. Some will be placed on unpaid furlough, while others will have to report to work. Confusion reigns as to which workers are which category. The stakes are high because non-essential” workers will only get paid for the lost time if Congress passes a law to pay them.

Tweet freeze at the AP

The News Media Guild is asking unionized Associated Press reporters to stop promoting their stories on Twitter and Facebook while contract negotiations underway.

The social media freeze is a creative example of working to rule.” Social media promotion is not in most reporters’ job descriptions, so the union is using reporters’ habit of drumming up free publicity as a bargaining chip.

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Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times’ City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://​www​.hill​man​foun​da​tion​.org/​h​i​l​l​m​a​nblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.
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