Madison, WI (February 21, 2013) – A former Greenwood, Wisconsin teacher has won a settlement from a local teacher union and the school district for refusing to honor her rights under Act 10, and for failing to follow constitutional disclosure requirements.
In September, Amy Anaya filed two complaints 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 was enacted. 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, a nonmember has the right to refrain from paying any union dues or fees as a condition of their 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. With passage of Act 10, no Wisconsin teacher can be forced to pay any union dues or fees as a job condition.
The union failed to provide Anaya with her U.S. Supreme Court-mandated constitutional protections and the school district deducted full union dues from her paychecks for the entire year.
Under the settlement, Anaya received a refund of most of the illegally-seized union dues.
“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. “We hope that the Governor and the legislature will work quickly to provide these protections to Wisconsin’s private sector workforce, too.”
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.