International's headquarters in Waukesha.
WAUKESHA -The Wisconsin Supreme Court filed an
opinion Wednesday reversing the previous decision made by the
Court of Appeals and ruling in favor of Husco International
concerning an allegation it owed employees back pay for break
The case was a result of a dispute between
Waukesha-based Husco and the International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers District No. 10 concerning how
break times are to be treated under the terms of a faulty
contract provision and in the context of state and federal labor
laws, according to an overview provided by the Wisconsin Court
In 1983, Husco and union representatives agreed
to implement some changes to the employees’ collective
bargaining agreement, which included an unpaid 20-minute break.
Later the involved parties realized they had intentionally
violated a law that any work break shorter than 30 minutes
should be paid, according to the WCS. A class action lawsuit was
filed by the union in 2007 after the Department of Workforce
Development denied the plaintiffs’ claim for back pay, saying
they were not eligible for pay under the DWD regulation they
cited, according to Husco.
Husco then asked the Supreme Court to review the
Court of Appeals’ decision, which reversed a Circuit Court order
denying cross motions for summary judgment filed by Husco, its
employees and the union.
The opinion published Wednesday said the Supreme
Court reverse the Court of Appeals and remand for entry of
summary judgment in favor of Husco.
The opinion states that there was no violation of
the collective bargaining agreement and there was no allegation
of risk to workers’ lives, health, safety or welfare.
“We are very gratified with the Supreme Court’s
ruling which supports Husco’s employment practices. We treat our
employees with respect, offer them the opportunity to earn a
good living, and strive to maintain a good and equitable
relationship with the IAMAW,” said Husco CEO Austin Ramirez in a
IAM District 10 business representative Scott
Parr did not return a call for comment Wednesday.