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.