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.
The workers stated in their initial brief in the district court that “they equate the ‘services’ provided by (union officials) to be akin to those of some itinerant street window washers who sling dirty water on your car windshield, smear it around, and then demand payment” and do not feel the state should be the bagman for union officials.
In their brief, the workers ask the appellate court to uphold the law as constitutional, relying on the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Davenport v. WEA victory in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that union bosses enjoy an “extraordinary power” to force workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, but have no constitutional right to use government resources to deduct union dues or fees from workers’ paychecks.
Meanwhile, three additional Wisconsin civil servants continue to defend Walker’s reforms against union challenges in other cases pending before state and federal courts. Christopher King and Carie Kendrick filed an amicus curiae brief opposing another legal challenge to the legislation in federal court; while Eli Grajkowski, a veteran Wisconsin educator, filed a similar brief in state court.
“Union bosses from across the state of Wisconsin are fighting tooth and nail to strike down any limit to their power,” said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. “No worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, which is why Wisconsin should go a step further by passing Right to Work protections to protect all Badger State employees from forced union affiliation.”
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.