Teacher Union Lawyers Threaten Sanctions in Legal Challenge to Contract that Sold Out Teachers for 10 Years of Forced Union Dues
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney attacked for brief calling out contract to circumvent Right to Work protections for teachers in exchange for pay cuts
Taylor, Michigan (July 15, 2015) – Staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have responded to a motion for sanctions filed for the American Federation of Teachers Local 1085 union.
The motion for sanctions was filed after the National Right to Work Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief in a case involving Local 1085 in which union bosses have been found to have unlawfully rushed into a 10 year forced-dues “union security” contract with Taylor School District after they offered major concessions, including a 10% pay cut for teachers, in a separate monopoly bargaining agreement.
In December 2012, Michigan workers gained new workplace rights when Michigan passed a Right to Work law. Fearing the loss of their forced-dues funded power, Local 1085 union officials entered into a standalone 10 year compulsory unionism agreement and a separate monopoly bargaining agreement in January 2013, hoping that the forced-dues contract would fall under the “grandfather clause” of Michigan’s Right to Work law, which did not take effect until March 2013.
The union had no contract for more than a year when it rushed into those agreements. As the amicus brief details, the union bosses violated their duty of fair representation by placing their own financial self-interest ahead of the bargaining unit’s members’ well-being. In exchange for 10 years of forced-dues power, the union accepted a bargaining agreement (for only 4 years and 8 months) that includes: a 10% reduction in teachers’ wages, a partial suspension of incremental salary increases, a reduction in coaching stipends, and the elimination of mileage reimbursements for driving school buses.
The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) ruled that Local 1085 had thus breached its duty of fair representation. The Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting MERC’s decision after Local 1085 appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Union attorneys then decried the Foundation’s brief as “a vexatious proceeding” and asked for sanctions to be imposed on the Foundation staff attorney who filed the brief for allegedly making defamatory claims against Local 1085.
“Local 1085 officials concocted a scheme to avoid Michigan’s Right to Work law and cling to years of forced-dues power,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that union bosses have sold out the workers whom they claim to represent, all to protect and expand their own self interests,” he continued.
“By attacking the attorney who defended Michigan teachers from the abuses of compulsory unionism, Local 1085 union bosses have shown that they will go to any length to protect their power,” Mix continued. “We fully expect that the court will reject this outrageous attempt to silence Foundation staff attorneys as baseless.”