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.
Under Wisconsin’s 2011 Act 10 labor reforms, most public-sector employees cannot be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment or accept unwanted union representation for matters other than base wages. In November 2013, however, the Kenosha School Board approved bargaining agreements with unions covering numerous subjects Act 10 prohibits, including a provision that allowed union officials to collect dues from all District employees, including nonmembers.
The lawsuit prompted the District and the local school board to enter into a settlement with the teachers in June 2014 declaring their collective bargaining agreements with the unions null and void. The settlement also required the District and school board to refrain from forcing teachers and other staff to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
The lawsuit continued against the three unions because they were not parties to the settlement.
“This ruling holds that Kenosha public school employees cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees to get or keep a job in violation of Act 10,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This judgment affirms once again that union officials are not above the law.”
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.