Wisconsin 

Act 10 Lawsuit Judgment Strikes Down Forced Dues Contracts between Kenosha School District and Unions

News Release

Act 10 Lawsuit Judgment Strikes Down Forced Dues Contracts between Kenosha School District and Unions

Bargaining agreements between unions and the school district violated Wisconsin's public-sector labor reform statute

Kenosha, WI (March 27, 2015) – In a lawsuit filed by current and former Kenosha public school teachers, a state court has struck down monopoly bargaining agreements between the Kenosha Unified School District and School Board and three local unions as illegal under Wisconsin's 2011 public-sector unionism reforms commonly referred to as Act 10.

Current Kenosha school teacher Carrie Ann Glembocki and former Kenosha school teacher Kristi LaCroix filed the lawsuit in November 2013, with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The lawsuit challenged bargaining agreements between the District and officials from the Kenosha Education Association union, the SEIU Local 168 union, and the AFSCME Local 2383 union. Those agreements required teachers and other District staff to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs.

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Worker Advocate Offers Legal Aid to Wisconsin Workers Seeking to Exercise Rights under New Right to Work Law

News Release

Worker Advocate Offers Legal Aid to Wisconsin Workers Seeking to Exercise Rights under New Right to Work Law

Foundation has long history of assisting workers seeking to refrain from union membership and dues payments

Washington, DC (March 10, 2015) – The National Right to Work Foundation is offering free legal aid to Wisconsin private-sector workers seeking to exercise their right under Wisconsin's newly-enacted Right to Work law to refrain from union membership and union dues payments.

On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed the nation's newest Right to Work law, effective Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Under the law, workers will no longer be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment once the current union monopoly bargaining agreement in their workplace expires.

The National Right to Work Foundation has a long history of assisting employees seeking to exercise their Right to Work rights, most recently under Right to Work provisions enacted in Indiana and Michigan. Foundation attorneys also provided free legal representation to Wisconsin public-sector employees who sought to refrain from paying union dues or fees under Walker's 2011 public-sector union reforms, commonly referred to as "Act 10."

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Michels Corp. Construction Worker Wins Thousands in Settlement from Company & Union After Illegal Firing

News Release

Michels Corp. Construction Worker Wins Thousands in Settlement from Company & Union After Illegal Firing

Case underscores needs for Right to Work protections

Colorado Springs, CO (January 14, 2015) – A former Michels Corporation construction worker in Colorado has won a settlement from a Brownsville, Wisconsin-based company and a Colorado-based union for violating his rights and illegally firing him.

The settlement comes after Paul Castle of Fountain filed federal unfair labor practice charges with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

Shortly after Michels hired Castle in August, Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 578 officials demanded he become a full dues-paying union member. Because Colorado does not have Right to Work protections for workers, workers can be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. However, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the Foundation-won Communication Workers v. Beck case that nonmember workers cannot be compelled to pay the portion of union dues used for the union's political and member-only activities.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Act 10 Unionism Reforms

Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld all provisions of Act 10. Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement in the wake of today's ruling:

"We applaud the court's ruling upholding Act 10. The court relied on principles established in Foundation-supported U.S. Supreme Court victories which have held that union officials have no constitutional power to force workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

"The court's decision strikes a mighty blow for individual workers who do not want anything to do with an unwanted union in their workplace. Wisconsin government union officials should now understand that the constitutionality of Right to Work laws has long been a settled question. We're happy to report that the court rejected the union lawyers' frivolous arguments and ensured that thousands of Wisconsin's civil servants will continue to labor free from union coercion.

"No Wisconsin public worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Now it is time for Wisconsin's legislature to protect that right for Wisconsin's private-sector workers and pass a private-sector Right to Work law."

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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Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling Allows Union Recertification Elections

News Release

Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling Allows Union Recertification Elections

Teachers seek union recertification elections guaranteed under law

Madison, WI (November 22, 2013) – Last night, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a ruling that allows teachers across the state to vote to determine whether union officials can continue to claim to represent those teachers in their respective workplaces.

The ruling strikes down a Dane County Circuit Court judge's order that prohibited the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) from conducting secret-ballot recertification elections that are guaranteed under Wisconsin Act 10.

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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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Federal Court Upholds Wisconsin Governor's Public-Sector Unionism Reforms, Right to Work Protections

News Release

Federal Court Upholds Wisconsin Governor's Public-Sector Unionism Reforms, Right to Work Protections

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed brief in support of “Act 10”

Madison, WI (September 11, 2013) – Today, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin upheld Governor Scott Walker's 2011 public-sector unionism reform measures, also known as "Act 10," which included giving most Wisconsin public workers the Right to Work.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, two Wisconsin public employees moved to intervene in the lawsuit in favor of the law after Laborers Local 236 union officials challenged the law in the federal court. The court permitted the two civil servants to file an amicus brief.

Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, released the following statement in regards to the court's decision:

"The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has upheld the constitutionality of 'Act 10.' The court's decision is a powerful victory for individual workers who do not want anything to do with an unwanted union in their workplace.selves whether or not to join or financially support a union."

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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.”

 

FOUNDATION ACTION: Indiana and Wisconsin Right to Work Protections Upheld in Federal Court

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


Indiana and Wisconsin Right to Work Protections Upheld in Federal Court

Foundation attorneys help thwart bogus union legal challenges to recent labor reforms  

Wisconsin teacher Kristi Lacroix successfully defended Wisconsin’s public sector Right to Work law with the help of Foundation staff attorneys. SPRINGFIELD, VA - In the span of two days, Foundation attorneys scored resounding victories defending Indiana’s newly-enacted Right to Work law and Wisconsin’s 2010 public sector Right to Work law in two federal courts.

The legal victories both highlight the need and the success of the Foundation’s litigation program.

Indiana union bosses soundly defeated in court

A United States District Court Judge dismissed a federal lawsuit challenging Indiana’s Right to Work law filed by International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 lawyers. IUOE Local 150, headquartered in suburban Chicago, filed the lawsuit to undo what thousands of Hoosier citizens worked hard to achieve through the legislative process immediately after the law was enacted last February.

Unfortunately for the IUOE, the constitutionality of state Right to Work laws has long been a settled question. And National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, representing four Indiana workers who support the Right to Work law, advised lawyers for the State of Indiana about arguments that were made to defend the law in court.

The four Hoosier citizens who opposed the union’s legal challenge were David Bercot, a certified wastewater operator for the ITR Concession Company in Fort Wayne; Joel Tibbetts, a Minteq International assistant manager in Valparaiso; Douglas Richards, an employee with the Goshen-based Cequent Towing Products; and Larry Getts, a Dana Holding Corporation technician in Albion.

Judge Philip Simon dismissed all of the union lawyers’ claims. He did not rule on arguments contesting the law on the grounds that it violates Indiana’s constitution, leaving that to state courts to decide. A United Steel Workers legal challenge based on state laws is still proceeding in Indiana state court, where two other Foundation-assisted employees have filed a brief arguing that the law is consistent with their state’s constitution.

“We’re happy to report that the judge rejected IUOE union bosses’ frivolous arguments and ensured that millions of Indianans will continue to work free from union coercion,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of National Right to Work.

Wisconsin public sector Right to Work law stands

A day after the Indiana victory, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit based in Chicago upheld all of Governor Scott Walker’s public sector unionism reform measures, also known as “Act 10.”

The court rejected union lawyers’ attempts to strike down the law’s annual union recertification requirements, ban on the use of taxpayer funded-payroll systems to collect union dues, new limits on the scope of what union officials can demand in contract negotiations, and a provision that granted most of Wisconsin’s public employees Right to Work protections.

With free legal assistance from Foundation and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty attorneys, three Wisconsin public employees moved to intervene in the lawsuit in favor of the law after lawyers from seven unions, led by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, challenged it in federal court.

The three civil servants -- Kenosha teacher Kristi Lacroix, Waukesha high school teacher Nathan Berish, and trust fund specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds Ricardo Cruz -- were permitted to file amicus briefs in the district court and their Foundation attorney was allowed to argue on the merits of the law before the appeals court during a hearing.

“The appellate court upheld all of ‘Act 10’ as constitutional by relying on principles established in Foundation-supported Supreme Court victories. Those cases hold that union bosses have no constitutional power to force workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Unions also don’t have a constitutional right to use government resources to deduct union dues or fees from workers’ paychecks,” said Semmens.

“The court’s decision strikes a mighty blow for individual workers who do not want anything to do with an unwanted union in their workplace. The text of the decision makes it clear that legal arguments presented by Foundation staff attorneys were critical to the ruling.”


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