Teacher 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.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

National Workplace Advocacy Group to Charter School Employees: "You Have Rights"

Union bosses fail to block charter school education, now seek to make charter schools part of forced unionism empire

Washington, DC (January 29, 2015) – Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, has issued the following statement in recognition of National School Choice Week 2015:

"For many years, union officials orchestrated a prolonged campaign to delegitimize and do away with school choice and charter schools. Despite that opposition, charter schools have enjoyed steady growth both in popularity and in practice.

"As such, union officials have decided that if they can't stop the growth of charter schools, then they might as well try to force charter school employees under a union monopoly. Of course this could prove disastrous for charter school teachers and students nationwide.

"The unionization of charter schools jumped 444 percent in the last decade, 2001-10, compared 1992-2000, and is increasing rapidly. But all charter school employees are entitled to certain constitutional and statutory rights. And unfortunately, these rights are not automatically provided.

"To enjoy many of the benefits of these protected rights, an employee may first have to assert his or her entitlement to them. Unfortunately, union officials often keep workers in the dark about their rights.

"Led by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the National Right to Work Foundation's Charter School Initiative aims to enlighten charter school employees so that they can make decisions about union representation in an atmosphere free of union boss threats, harassment, coercion, or misrepresentation. To that end, Foundation attorneys have developed free educational materials for charter school teachers and employees. Furthermore, Foundation staff attorneys are prepared to defend charter school workers from the injustices of forced unionism.

"Charter school employees: You have rights. For more information about your rights and the Foundation's Charter School Initiative, check out our website at www.nrtw.org/charterschools."

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

Ohio Teachers Win Class-Action Settlement to Halt Compulsory Union Dues for Political Activism

Ohio teacher union bosses forced to refund dues and fees illegally used for union electioneering to over 2,000 teachers

Columbus, OH (September 11, 2014) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, 14 public school teachers across the state have won a federal class-action settlement against the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and 11 of its regional and local affiliates for violating their rights.

The settlement is in a class-action lawsuit the group filed in 2011 after the OEA union unlawfully overcharged the teachers -- who have refrained from full-dues-paying union membership -- for union "fees" taken from their paychecks. The union hierarchy charged the teachers for costs supporting the union's political activism and electioneering. Per Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, nonmember teachers cannot be forced to pay dues or fees for union boss politics and other non-bargaining activities under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Additionally, the OEA union's regional affiliates were collecting compulsory fees from non-members without providing the kind of independently-audited financial statements required by law. In the Foundation-won Supreme Court ruling in Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, the High Court ruled that public employees must be notified how their forced union dues are spent to make it less difficult to prevent their dues from going towards union political and member-only expenditures.

The settlement awards more than 2,000 teachers in Ohio nominal damages and/or rebates for union dues illegally-seized from their paychecks during the 2009-2010 to 2012-2013 school years.

"OEA union officials have a long history of abusing teachers' rights in the workplace to fund their political coffers," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud these teachers' commitment to defending their and other Ohio teachers' rights in this case."

"Despite this victory, it's important to remember that the OEA union machine forced nonmembers to pay a large part of the money used to defeat public-sector reforms in the Buckeye State in 2011 -- reforms that would have allowed teachers to opt out of forced dues payments all together," added Mix. "This case underscores the need for Ohio to pass a Right to Work law protecting all of Ohio's workers."

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for workers. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary 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

Judge Strikes Down Michigan Teacher Union's Illegal "Window Period" Scheme

Michigan union officials stonewall workers' attempts to exercise their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law

Lansing, MI (September 4, 2014) – A Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) judge has struck down the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union hierarchy's scheme to prohibit public school teachers and employees from exercising their rights to refrain from union membership.

The ruling stems from state charges filed by Mark Norgan, a Standish-Sterling Community Schools janitor, Alphia Snyder, a Battle Creek Public Schools secretary, and Mary Carr, a Grand Blanc Community Schools special education department secretary, with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.

The charges challenged MEA's policy of requiring workers to resign union membership and refrain from union dues payments only during a "window period" of August 1 through August 31.

The MERC administrative law judge agreed with Foundation staff attorneys who argued that Michigan’s Right to Work law protects workers' unequivocal right to refrain from union membership at any time. Similarly, federal labor law protects workers' absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.

"Across the state, union officials are pulling out all the stops to keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This ruling is a huge victory for workers throughout the state whose rights under Michigan's Right to Work law are being denied by unscrupulous union officials."

In similar cases across Michigan, Foundation staff attorneys are assisting several other public-sector workers who filed charges with the MERC challenging union officials' schemes to stonewall workers attempting to exercise their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work 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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.
News Release

Grand Rapids Teacher Files State Charges Against Union and School District for Right to Work Violations

Union and school officials collude to force school employees into dues-paying union ranks despite Right to Work law

Grand Rapids, MI (April 21, 2014) – A Grand Rapids-area special education teacher has filed state charges against a local union and the school district for violating school employees' rights under Michigan's Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Becky Lapham of Portland, Michigan, filed the state charges last week with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) in Detroit.

The 11-year Lincoln Developmental Center school teacher notified the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union that she was exercising her rights under the Foundation-won Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson case to refrain from full union dues payments and requesting a financial disclosure of how her forced union dues and fees are being spent.

MEA union officials refused to comply with Lapham's request, claiming that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" in August 2014 to refrain from full dues payments, and threatened to report her to a collections agency. Lapham points out that Michigan's Right to Work law protects her unequivocal right to refrain from union membership at any time. Analogously, federal labor law also protects workers' absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.

Lapham also filed additional charges against the union and Grand Rapids Public Schools for entering into an agreement illegally amending and extending the forced unionism provisions in the monopoly bargaining agreement beyond the date allowed under Michigan's Right to Work law for public employees. That law specifies that contracts or amendments entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers' right to refrain from the payment of any union dues or fees.

"Across the state, union officials are pulling out all the stops to keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Foundation staff attorneys are assisting workers throughout the state whose rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law are being denied by unscrupulous union officials seeking to circumvent the law."

In similar cases across Michigan, Foundation staff attorneys have already assisted 10 other public-sector workers who filed charges with the MERC and two private-sector workers who filed federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

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

First Grade Teacher Hits Teacher Union Officials with State Charge for Violating Kansas's Longstanding Right to Work Law

Union officials stonewall teacher's attempt to cut off union dues payments

Wichita, KS (December 26, 2013) – A first grade teacher at Peterson Elementary School has filed a state charge against a local teacher union for violating her rights under Kansas's long-standing Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Tiffani Knowles filed the state charge last week with the Kansas Department of Labor in Topeka.

On July, 31, 2013, Knowles sent a letter to the United Teachers of Wichita (UTW) union stating that she was exercising her right under the state's Right to Work law to refrain from full union membership and dues payments. Under Kansas's Right to Work law, union officials must respect workers' right to refrain from the payment of any union dues.

Because the union did not receive the letter before August 1, UTW union officials told her that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" of July 1, 2014 through July 31, 2014 before she could resign union membership even though UTW's own constitution states "Members may resign by sending written notice to the United Teachers of Wichita office prior to August 1."

Knowles points out in her charge that Kansas's Right to Work law protects her unequivocal right to refrain from union membership at any time. Analogously, federal labor law also protects workers' absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.

Knowles is asking the Kansas Department of Labor to order the UTW union to accept her union membership resignation and either strike down the UTW's provisions prohibiting workers from freely exercising their Right to Work or require the UTW to accept resignations sent in compliance with its own constitution.

"Union officials are violating their own rules in order to keep this teacher from exercising her right to refrain from union membership and dues payments," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Because state and federal law protect workers' right to unconditionally refrain from union membership at any time, we call on the Kansas Department of Labor to hold this union's scheme invalid.

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

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.

The WERC cancelled the elections, which were originally scheduled to take place in early November, after a Dane County Circuit Court judge halted implementation of the law.

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.

Wisconsin Act 10 prevents government sector union officials from forcing nonmember workers to pay any union fees, restricts union monopoly bargaining to the issue of employee wages, ends the use of taxpayer funded payroll systems for the collection of union dues, and guarantees that public workers will vote on their union representation yearly.

In compliance with the court's judgment approving the settlement, the WERC began conducting secret-ballot recertification elections on November 29, 2013.

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a ruling vacating the Dane County Circuit Court judge's order that had prohibited the WERC from conducting recertification elections.

"Many independent-minded civil servants have no interest in associating with government sector unions and they deserve to have their voices heard," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Act 10 protects those workers' right to do so and now these civil servants will be allowed to participate in the elections that they were promised to express their interests regarding union representation."

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 Launches Campaign to Assist Illinois Teachers Who Want to Stop Paying for Union Politics

Radio campaign and TeacherRefund.com website inform teachers about their right to reclaim union dues spent on politics

Springfield, VA (November 14, 2013) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a charitable organization that provides free legal assistance to employees nationwide, has launched a multimedia advertising campaign to inform Illinois public school teachers of their rights to refrain from union membership and the payment of full union dues.

“Employee rights have been in the news since the tumultuous but ultimately successful efforts to reform labor law in neighboring Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We’d like to capitalize on that momentum by informing Illinois educators of their rights to opt out of paying for union politics.”

Illinois is one of 26 states that lack Right to Work laws, which means employees – including public school teachers – can be forced to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job. However, under Supreme Court precedents won by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, employees cannot be lawfully forced to pay for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining, such as union political activism.

All employees also have the right to resign their union membership at any time.

“Unfortunately, many Illinois public school teachers are simply unaware of their rights to leave a union and stop paying for union politics,” continued Mix. “We hope to address that problem by educating as many teachers as possible about their workplace rights.”

Radio ads will direct Illinois educators to TeacherRefund.com, a website that provides legal information about teachers’ rights to resign from a union and opt out of dues for union politics.

“No teacher should be forced to pay for political causes he or she disagrees with, which is why these educational campaigns are so vital,” said Mix. “Our team of experienced staff attorneys is standing by to help Illinois public school teachers assert their workplace rights.”

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

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.

Wisconsin Act 10 prevents public sector union officials from collecting any money from nonmember workers, restricts union monopoly bargaining to the issue of employee wages, ends the use of taxpayer funded payroll systems for the collection of union dues, and guarantees that public workers will vote on their union representation yearly.

After a Dane County Circuit Court judge recently halted implementation of the law, WERC officials canceled the teachers' recertification elections. The elections were originally scheduled to take place in November.

Alternatively, the teachers ask that if the court does not declare that WERC must hold the recertification elections, then the teachers should be granted their right to represent themselves individually regarding the terms and conditions of their employment.

"Many independent-minded civil servants have no interest in associating with government sector unions and they deserve to have their voices heard," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Act 10 protects those workers' right to do so and we hope these civil servants will be allowed to participate in the elections that they were promised to express their interests regarding their union representation."

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

Special Needs Teaching Assistant Files Charge against Union for Ignoring Her Rights Under Michigan's Right to Work Law

Teacher union officials stonewall worker's attempt to resign from union membership and dues payments

Pinckney, MI (October 23, 2013) – A local special needs classroom assistant has filed a state charge against a local teacher union for violating her rights under Michigan's recently enacted public-sector Right to Work law.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Linda Evon of Pinckney filed the state charge late last week with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) in Detroit.

Evon, who works as a special needs classroom assistant for Pinckney Community Schools, informed the Michigan Education Association (MEA) union on September 4, 2013, that she was exercising her right under Michigan's Right to Work law to refrain from union dues payments after the union's monopoly bargaining agreement with her employer expired on June 30, 2013. Under Michigan's Right to Work law, contracts entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers' right to refrain from the payment of any union dues.

Instead of complying with Evon's request, MEA union officials told her that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" of August 1 through August 31 before she could resign union membership and refrain from union dues payments.

Evon points out in her charge that Michigan's Right to Work law protects her unequivocal right to refrain from union membership at any time. Analogously, Supreme Court precedent under federal labor law also protects workers' absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.

"Across the state, union bosses are pulling out all the stops to keep workers from exercising their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "In a growing number of Foundation cases now, union officials face state or federal charges for denying workers their rights under Michigan's Right to Work law."

"Foundation attorneys will continue their efforts to assist workers whose rights are violated by unscrupulous union bosses," 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.

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