Teacher Unions 

Ohio Teachers Win Class-Action Settlement to Halt Compulsory Union Dues for Political Activism

News Release

Ohio Teachers Win Class-Action Settlement to Halt Compulsory Union Dues for Political Activism

Ohio teacher union bosses forced to refund dues and fees illegally used for union electioneering to over 2,000 teachers

Columbus, OH (September 11, 2014) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, 14 public school teachers across the state have won a federal class-action settlement against the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and 11 of its regional and local affiliates for violating their rights.

The settlement is in a class-action lawsuit the group filed in 2011 after the OEA union unlawfully overcharged the teachers -- who have refrained from full-dues-paying union membership -- for union "fees" taken from their paychecks. The union hierarchy charged the teachers for costs supporting the union's political activism and electioneering.

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Judge Strikes Down Michigan Teacher Union's Illegal "Window Period" Scheme

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Judge Strikes Down Michigan Teacher Union's Illegal "Window Period" Scheme

Michigan union officials stonewall workers' attempts to exercise their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law

Lansing, MI (September 4, 2014) – A Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) judge has struck down the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union hierarchy's scheme to prohibit public school teachers and employees from exercising their rights to refrain from union membership.

The ruling stems from state charges filed by Mark Norgan, a Standish-Sterling Community Schools janitor, Alphia Snyder, a Battle Creek Public Schools secretary, and Mary Carr, a Grand Blanc Community Schools special education department secretary, with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

The charges challenged MEA's policy of requiring workers to resign union membership and refrain from union dues payments only during a "window period" of August 1 through August 31.

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Grand Rapids Teacher Files State Charges Against Union and School District for Right to Work Violations

News Release

Grand Rapids Teacher Files State Charges Against Union and School District for Right to Work Violations

Union and school officials collude to force school employees into dues-paying union ranks despite Right to Work law

Grand Rapids, MI (April 21, 2014) – A Grand Rapids-area special education teacher has filed state charges against a local union and the school district for violating school employees' rights under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Becky Lapham of Portland, Michigan, filed the state charges last week with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) in Detroit.

The 11-year Lincoln Developmental Center school teacher notified the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union that she was exercising her rights under the Foundation-won Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case to refrain from full union dues payments and requesting a financial disclosure of how her forced union dues and fees are being spent.

MEA union officials refused to comply with Lapham's request, claiming that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" in August 2014 to refrain from full dues payments, and threatened to report her to a collections agency.

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First Grade Teacher Hits Teacher Union Officials with State Charge for Violating Kansas's Longstanding Right to Work Law

News Release

First Grade Teacher Hits Teacher Union Officials with State Charge for Violating Kansas's Longstanding Right to Work Law

Union officials stonewall teacher's attempt to cut off union dues payments

Wichita, KS (December 26, 2013) – A first grade teacher at Peterson Elementary School has filed a state charge against a local teacher union for violating her rights under Kansas's long-standing Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Tiffani Knowles filed the state charge last week with the Kansas Department of Labor in Topeka.

On July, 31, 2013, Knowles sent a letter to the United Teachers of Wichita (UTW) union stating that she was exercising her right under the state's Right to Work law to refrain from full union membership and dues payments. Under Kansas's Right to Work law, union officials must respect workers' right to refrain from the payment of any union dues.

Click here to read the full release.

Pro-Act 10 Settlement in Wisconsin Teachers' Lawsuit Clears Path for Union Recertification Elections

News Release

Pro-Act 10 Settlement in Wisconsin Teachers' Lawsuit Clears Path for Union Recertification Elections

Teachers win right to union recertification elections guaranteed under law

Waukesha, WI (December 5, 2013) – The Waukesha County Circuit Court has approved a settlement between five Wisconsin public school teachers and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) that will allow teachers across the state to determine whether union officials can continue to claim to represent those teachers in their respective workplaces guaranteed under Wisconsin Act 10.

With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, five Wisconsin public school teachers filed a lawsuit in the state court last month against the WERC after WERC officials canceled the teachers' recertification elections.

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Michigan Labor Board Files Complaint Against Teacher Union for Circumventing Right to Work Law

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Michigan Labor Board Files Complaint Against Teacher Union for Circumventing Right to Work Law

Teacher union officials stonewall worker's attempt to resign from union membership and dues payments

Pinckney, MI (November 20, 2013) – The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) in Detroit has issued a complaint against the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union for violating a local special needs classroom assistant's rights under Michigan's recently enacted public-sector Right to Work law.

The complaint stems from a state charge that Linda Evon of Pinckney filed with the MERC last month with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

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Five Wisconsin Teachers File Lawsuit Seeking Act 10 Enforcement

News Release

Five Wisconsin Teachers File Lawsuit Seeking Act 10 Enforcement

Teachers seek union recertification elections guaranteed under law

Waukesha, WI (October 30, 2013) – With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, five Wisconsin public school teachers have filed a lawsuit in state court against the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC).

In the lawsuit, the teachers seek the secret-ballot recertification elections, guaranteed under Wisconsin Act 10, which will allow teachers across the state to determine whether union officials can continue to claim to represent those teachers in their respective workplaces.

All five teachers are employed in workplaces where they are subject to a union monopoly bargaining agreement, which means all five have been forced to accept the union's so-called "representation." The teachers work in school districts in Waukesha, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Racine, and Elmbrook.

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FOUNDATION ACTION: Teacher Wins Settlement after Union Violated Her Constitutional Rights

NOTE: This article is from the March-April issue of Foundation Action, our bi-monthly newsletter. You can sign up to receive a print edition of the newsletter here


Teacher Wins Settlement after Union Violated Her Constitutional Rights

Case demonstrates why Wisconsin reforms were need to protect state workers

GREENWOOD, WI - A former Greenwood, Wisconsin, teacher has won a settlement from a local teacher union and the school district for refusing to honor her constitutional rights and for failing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

Spanish teacher Amy Anaya taught in the School District of Greenwood for a year. When Anaya was first hired by the district in August 2011, Greenwood Education Association (GEA) union officials illegally told her that she “had to” sign the union’s membership form.  When GEA union officials demanded Anaya join the union, she told them that she had no desire to become a union member.

Anaya told Foundation Action that her initial reason for not wanting to join the union was its support of causes she opposed. “[The union] also defended teachers that should have been more concerned about improving themselves than moving up the pay scale and getting more benefits,” said Anaya.

Beginning on September 9, 2011, union officials began collecting full union dues, or $31.35, from each of Anaya’s paychecks anyway.  In December 2011, GEA union officials again demanded that Anaya join the union, and she again informed them that she was not interested in joining.

Union officials ignore worker protections

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that a public sector worker has a First Amendment right to refrain from formal union membership at any time. Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Foundation’s Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case that union officials who collect union fees as a condition of employment must first provide nonmember public sector workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to object and challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decisionmaker.

And with passage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10 public sector unionism reform in 2011, which contains a provision that gives most Wisconsin civil servants Right to Work protections, no Wisconsin teacher can be forced to pay any union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Union officials failed to provide Anaya with her U.S. Supreme Court-mandated constitutional protections and the school district deducted full union dues from her paychecks for the entire school year.  Moreover, the union brass negotiated a contract with the school district in an attempt to skirt Act 10’s provisions giving Greenwood teachers the Right to Work.

Complaint forces union officials to issue refund

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Anaya filed complaints against the school district and the union with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in September 2012.  Union lawyers then agreed to a settlement with Anaya under which the union refunded the illegally seized dues to avoid further litigation and possible state prosecution.

“Teacher union bosses and school officials ignored state law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent to illegally coerce Amy Anaya into full dues-paying union ranks against her will,” said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work.  “This case teaches all of us a lesson about just how important Act 10 is in protecting Wisconsin public employees from forced unionism abuses.”

Wisconsin union bosses are still attacking Act 10 in various state and federal courts, but largely to no avail. 

In December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit based in Chicago adopted arguments made by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and upheld Act 10 as constitutional.  Meanwhile, Wisconsin civil servants continue to defend Act 10 in other cases pending before state and federal courts with free legal assistance from Foundation staff attorneys, including a case pending before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

“Union bosses can’t tolerate any restrictions on their power over workers,” stated Mix.  “And your National Right to Work Foundation continues to assist Wisconsin civil servants who are taking a stand against compulsory unionism in their workplaces.”

 

California teacher: "If unions do so much for members, why bully?"

Writing in The Orange County Register, former teacher Larry Sand exposes the hypocrisy of teacher unions' rhetoric on Right to Work:

Teachers unions are forever telling its members how much the union does for them in the way of wages, job benefits, etc. You would think that an organization that does so much for its members wouldn't have to resort to bullying to keep them in the fold. But the unions know that without forcing the issue, many teachers would just say, "No." For instance, in Wisconsin, after Act 10 came into law allowing teachers to quit their union, about 30 percent have already quit with more to follow this June when their contracts expire.

Well said. If unions are providing valuable services, as they claim, they shouldn't have to rely on coercion to collect dues and attract members. And if teachers and other workers are no longer joining and paying dues voluntarily, union bosses should adjust their sales pitch instead of resorting to compulsion. 

Sand goes on to demolish the "free rider" myth peddled by anti-Right to Work advocates:

It is a compelling argument, but untrue. The National Labor Relations Act does not mandate unions exclusively represent all employees, but permits them to electively do so. Under the Act, unions can also negotiate "members-only" contracts that only cover dues-paying members. They do not have to represent other employees. 

Read the whole thing here

Teachers File Brief Defending Gov. Walker's 'Act 10' Reforms in Union's State Appeals Court Lawsuit

News Release

Teachers File Brief Defending Gov. Walker's 'Act 10' Reforms in Union's State Appeals Court Lawsuit

Teachers ask state court to uphold legislation protecting most state employees from forced unionism

Madison, WI (February 6, 2013) – Three Wisconsin public school teachers filed a brief in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals last week supporting Governor Walker's public sector union reform bill, known as "Act 10."

Elmbrook School District educator Elijah Grajkowski, Kenosha teacher Kristi Lacroix, and Waukesha high school teacher Nathan Berish filed the amici curiae brief with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

The case is a legal challenge brought in Dane County Circuit Court by union officials from Public Employees Local 61 and Madison Teachers, Inc., a local affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA).

Click here to read the full release.


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