Wisconsin Teachers Union Fails At Defying State Law

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A Wisconsin court struck down a collective bargaining agreement between a local school district and its unions for violating the labor reform law known as Act 10, according to a statement released Friday.

Carrie Ann Glembocki and Kristi LaCroix, two teachers from the Kenosha School District, filed the lawsuit in 2013 to challenge a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which they argue violated Wisconsin state law. With legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, the two have won the case.

“The court grants summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on their Second Cause of Action, finding the CBAs entered into by the union defendants during November of 2013, were contrary to the provisions of Act 10 and are therefore null and void,” the court’s decision, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, declared last week.

During his first term, Gov. Scott Walker worked with the state’s Republican legislature to pass Act 10. The initiative significantly changed the collective bargaining process for most public employees within the state. It also required public unions to hold a renewal vote every couple years to determine if workers still wanted them. Labor unions and supporters adamantly opposed the law and even tried to get it repealed.

Republicans in the legislature went a step further in the past year when they passed a law which bans mandatory union dues as a condition of employment in the state.

“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,” a press release from NRTW detailed. “Those agreements required teachers and other district staff to pay union dues or fees to keep their jobs.”

As noted by a brief filed by the Plaintiffs, which was obtained by TheDCNF, they were able to come to a settlement with the school district but had to continue fighting the unions.

“The school district has now acknowledged that the CBAs are void” the brief noted. “However, the union defendants continued to seek enforcement of the CBAs. The plaintiffs therefore request a summary judgment declaring that the CBAs are void.”

Jeffrey Sweetland, an attorney for Local 168, noted that it wasn’t a complete victory for the Plaintiffs. Despite the court ruling in favor of the Act 10 argument, they did not side with the Plaintiffs when it came to allegations the unions violated state Antitrust laws. 

“The court decided it was not a valid contract under Act 10,” Sweetland told TheDCNF. “But it they did not violate the Antitrust laws.”

Such laws are designed to control trusts or other monopolies in the hope of promoting competition in business. If the court found the unions violated such a law, they would have had to pay the Plaintiffs’ attorney fees.

“The reason they put that in was so they could get the unions to pay their attorney fees,”Sweetland added.

TheDCNF could not reach the Kenosha Education Association union and the AFSCME Local 2383 for comment.

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Tags : wisconsin
Connor D. Wolf