Teacher Unions 

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).

In their brief, the teachers argue that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals should overturn the lower court's ruling that held that Act 10 is unconstitutional. The teachers' arguments in the brief rely on precedents long established by National Right to Work Foundation-won cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as recent Foundation-supported victories at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which upheld all of Act 10, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, which upheld Indiana's recently-enacted Right to Work law.

Meanwhile, two other Wisconsin public servants – Christopher King and Carie Kendrick – have also filed an amicus brief opposing a union legal challenge to Act 10 in another federal court.

"Once again, courageous Wisconsin public servants who want nothing to do with union bosses' so-called 'representation' have stepped forward to protect these vital reforms," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "No worker should be forced to pay union dues just to get or keep a job, which is why Wisconsin should pass a private-sector Right to Work law, ensuring that all Badger State employees are free of forced unionism."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
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.

In December 2011, GEA union officials again demanded that Anaya join the union, and Anaya again informed them that she was not interested in joining.

Under Wisconsin's Act 10 public-sector unionism reforms, Anaya, as a nonmember, had the right to refrain from paying any union dues or fees as a condition of her employment.

Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has long held that a worker has a First Amendment right to refrain from formal union membership at any time. Additionally, any worker who refrains from union membership cannot be required to pay union dues spent for union activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events. Nonmember workers are entitled to an independently-audited breakdown of union expenditures and the chance to challenge any forced dues or fees before an impartial third party.

Despite Act 10 and the union's failure to provide these constitutional protections, the school district deducted full union dues from Anaya's paychecks for the whole year, totaling to about $750.

"Teacher union bosses and school officials ignored state law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent to illegally coerce this teacher into full-dues-paying union ranks against her will," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "This case underscores just how important Act 10 is in protecting Wisconsin public employees from forced unionism abuses such as this."

"No worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment," added Mix.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Worker Advocate Asks Federal Labor Board to Uphold Precedent Disallowing Forced Unionization of Grad Students

Foundation files brief supporting university teaching assistants’ and graduate students’ First Amendment freedom of association

Washington, DC (July 24, 2012) – The National Right to Work Foundation has filed a brief with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking the Board to uphold its own precedent that disallows union officials from corralling university graduate students into unwanted union affiliation.

Foundation staff attorneys filed the amicus curiae brief with the NLRB in a case involving United Autoworkers (UAW) union organizers' attempts to unionize graduate students at New York University and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and ultimately force them to pay union dues.

Foundation attorneys argue that universities do not fit the self-styled industrial model of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – the federal law governing private-sector labor relations for non-managerial workers – a conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court in NLRB v. Yeshiva University (1980).

Foundation attorneys disassemble the union lawyers' arguments for new precedent that would establish teaching assistants and other graduate students as employees of a university, because grades are the central form of compensation for graduate students who are paid to teach, research, or perform temporary work. Foundation attorneys further question whether grades would ultimately become a mandatory subject of monopoly bargaining if paid graduate students were treated as employees for purposes of unionization.

"While the UAW may have Marxist dreams that students are 'workers' (as opposed to students), who will be in the vanguard of an economic revolution when the workers of the world unite, the fact remains that graduate students are students and not employees, and have little commonality of interest with most employees," the Foundation pointed out in its brief.

Foundation attorneys also argue that allowing union officials monopoly bargaining power over all teaching assistants would violate the First Amendment freedom of association rights of dissenting teaching assistants, thereby undermining academic freedom.

Earlier this month, Foundation staff attorneys filed a similar brief with the NLRB in a case involving Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 38061 union organizers' attempt to unionize professors at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

"Union officials' repeated ham-handed attempts to corral graduate students and university professors into unwanted union affiliation and force them to pay dues for unwanted 'representation' can only be explained as that Big Labor sees the Board’s current makeup favorable to forced unionism," stated Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This case shows that union officials will stop at nothing to collect forced dues from anyone possible, even unsuspecting graduate students."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Right to Work Foundation Announces New Addition to Legal Team

Regent-trained attorney dedicated to the cause of individual liberty for America's workers

Washington, DC (January 30, 2012) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has hired Sarah Hartsfield of Austin, Texas, as an addition to its legal staff.

Hartsfield is a recently sworn in member of the Virginia State Bar and 2011 graduate of the Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

"Sarah brings to the Foundation a real commitment to defending and advancing individual liberty against the injustices of compulsory unionism," said Ray LaJeunesse, vice president and legal director of the National Right to Work Foundation.

"She will assist the Foundation's cutting-edge legal team in defending America's workers from Big Labor's growing influence in the public sector, enforcing individual employees' rights against compulsory unionism, and establishing new precedents to increase workplace freedom for America’s workers."

As the newest of the Foundation's 12 staff attorneys, Hartsfield will help build on the Foundation's litigation record for union-abused workers that includes 15 cases at the United States Supreme Court, seven of which were won in whole or in part, and one of which was argued earlier this month. Currently, National Right to Work Foundation attorneys represent thousands of workers in nearly 200 active cases nationwide.

Before joining the Foundation, Hartsfield served as an intern for the Singer Legal Group in Virginia Beach, Virginia and the Chesapeake Public Defender's Office in Chesapeake, Virginia. She was also an intern, and later an executive assistant, at the Ashcroft Group, L.L.C. in Washington, D.C.

While at Regent, Hartsfield participated in a variety of activities and clubs and was an Associate Member of Regent's Moot Court Board, competed in numerous moot court competitions, and was a member of the Student Ambassador program. She holds a bachelors degree in Government from the University of Texas, where she graduated in 2008.

Read more about the Foundation's legal team here.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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