Teachers 

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

News Release

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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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.

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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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FOUNDATION ACTION: Union Bosses Caught Diverting Charitable Donations to Union Coffers

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.


BUSTED: Union Bosses Caught Diverting Charitable Donations to Union Coffers

Union scheme may have stiffed several charities, including the NYC Firefighters' Burn Foundation 

NEW YORK, NY - With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a Long Island teacher has won a favorable ruling against two unions at the New York State Supreme Court. Maureen Stavrakoglou originally filed suit against the two unions for refusing to tell her what they did with union dues that were supposed to have been redirected to charities.

Stavrakoglou is employed by the Brentwood School District, which requires all teachers to pay dues to the Brentwood Teachers Association (BTA) union and its state affiliate, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union, as a condition of employment. Because New York lacks a Right to Work law, nonunion employees throughout the state can be forced to pay union dues to get or keep a job. However, teachers with sincere religious objections to supporting a union are entitled to request that their union dues be redirected to a mutually agreed upon charity.

After Stavrakoglou made known her objections to the NYSUT union’s ideological activities, the BTA and NYSUT unions entered into an agreement in 2005 that was to have all of her NYSUT dues redirected to charity. Stavrakoglou then asked union officials to redirect her dues for 2007-2008 to the Make a Wish Foundation. The BTA’s president assured Stavrakoglou that the dues would be sent to the charity she designated.

Unscrupulous union officials kept dues earmarked for charity

After coming to an agreement with the unions, Stavrakoglou subsequently designated a new charity each year as the recipient of her union dues. However, two of the charities she chose – The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation – have no record of ever receiving a donation from the union under Stavrakoglou’s name. A third charity, The NYC Firefighters’ Burn Foundation, only received Stavrakoglou’s donation after she called union officials to inquire about the status of her dues. The donation was made over half a year after it was supposed to have been done.

“Maureen Stavrakoglou took union officials at their word, and they repaid that trust by deceiving her about where her union dues were going,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Their outrageous actions prevented Stavrakoglou from contributing her dues to several worthy charities.” 

Teacher wins ruling that safeguards her beliefs

Last August, Stavrakoglou filed a lawsuit seeking an account of how her union dues were spent and the immediate payment of any illegally-confiscated dues to the charities she designated. Although they admitted to failing to donate Stavrakoglou’s dues to several of the designated charities, union lawyers filed a motion to dismiss, promising that the unions would no longer keep any dues earmarked for charitable donations.

Fortunately for Stavrakoglou, the New York Supreme Court ruled that the union must provide evidence that her dues were sent to charitable organizations, and ordered the union to hold Stavrakoglou’s dues in escrow until such proof is established.

“We’re happy to report that Mrs. Stavrakoglou has received a favorable ruling and will finally have her religious beliefs respected,” continued Semmens. “However, teachers shouldn’t have to jump through a series of bureaucratic and legal hoops to stop paying dues to an organization they’d rather not join or support. They also shouldn’t have to trust unaccountable union officials not to mispend a chunk of their hard-earned paychecks. Instead, New York should enact a Right to Work law, which would make union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary and end this type of abuse once and for all.”

 

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.

Update: Wisconsin Civil Servants Defend Governor's Public-Sector Unionism Reforms in Federal Appeals Court

Monday, a National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney argued for three Wisconsin public employees who are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (located in Chicago) to uphold all of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's public-sector unionism reform measures, known as "Act 10."

The case is on appeal after a federal circuit court judge in Wisconsin struck down Wisconsin's new union recertification requirements and ban on the use of taxpayer funded-payroll systems to collect union dues from general employees' paychecks, and excluded the three workers from participating fully in the case.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Pleasant Prairie teacher Kristi Lacroix, Waukesha high school teacher Nathan Berish, and trust fund specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds Ricardo Cruz filed a motion to intervene in the lower court. When their motion to intervene was denied, the employees appealed and were given a portion of the argument time in Monday's appeals court argument.

The three workers are asking the appellate court to uphold the law as a whole as constitutional especially the law's Right to Work protections -- relying on Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedents in which the Court held that union bosses have no constitutional right to collect fees from nonmembers and that unions have no constitutional right to use government resources to deduct dues from workers' paychecks.

Teacher Files State Complaints After Union Bosses Violate Act 10, U.S. Constitution

News Release

Teacher Files State Complaints After Union Bosses Violate Act 10, U.S. Constitution

Case shows why Act 10 is needed to protect state workers

Madison, WI (September 21, 2012) – A former Greenwood, Wisconsin teacher has filed complaints against a local teacher union for illegally refusing to honor her right under the state law commonly referred to as "Act 10" to refrain from union dues payments, and for refusing to follow constitutional disclosure requirements.

Amy Anaya filed the complaint with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Anaya was a School District of Greenwood teacher for a year, beginning in August 2011, after Act 10 became effective. In September 2011, Greenwood Education Association (GEA) union officials approached Anaya and illegally told her that she "had to" sign the union's membership form. Anaya informed them that she had no desire to become a member of the union.

Click here to read the full release.

Wisconsin Civil Servants File Federal Appeals Brief Supporting Governor’s Public-Sector Unionism Reforms

News Release

Wisconsin Civil Servants File Federal Appeals Brief Supporting Governor’s Public-Sector Unionism Reforms

Workers ask court to uphold reform measure protecting most Badger State public workers from forced unionism

Madison, WI (June 6, 2012) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, three Wisconsin public employees have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to uphold all of Governor Scott Walker's public-sector unionism reform measures, known as "Act 10."

Pleasant Prairie teacher Kristi Lacroix, Waukesha high school teacher Nathan Berish, and trust fund specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds Ricardo Cruz filed the brief yesterday.

The workers, who are forced to accept the "representation" of union officials, want instead the freedom to represent themselves with their employers. The workers are challenging a lower court judge’s ruling to strike down Wisconsin's new union recertification requirements and the ban on the use of taxpayer funded-payroll systems to collect union dues for general employees.

Read the entire release here.

National Workplace Advocacy Group Launches Charter School Initiative

News Release

National Workplace Advocacy Group Launches Charter School Initiative

Union bosses fail to block charter school education, now seek to make charter schools part of forced unionism empire

Washington, DC (May 16, 2012) – The nation's premier advocate on behalf of workers impacted by forced unionism across the country has launched a new initiative to assist charter school teachers and other charter school employees exercise their rights so they can make informed decisions about unionization.

Led by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the National Right to Work Foundation's Charter School Initiative will help charter school teachers and support personnel in the face of expanding efforts by union officials to unionize America’s charter schools.

All charter school employees are entitled to certain constitutional and statutory rights. Unfortunately, these rights are not automatically provided. To enjoy many of the benefits of these protected rights, an employee may first have to assert his or her entitlement to them.

Read the entire release here.


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