Lacroix v. Kenosha Unified School District

Type of Case: Act 10

Court: Kenosha County Circuit Court

Case Number: 2013-CV-1889

Filed On: November 21, 2013

Current Status: Judgment entered striking down the contract

Governor Scott Walker’s 2011 reforms turned the realm of public sector employment relations upside down.  2011 Wisconsin Act 10 removed most collective bargaining privileges from the vast majority of state, county, and local employees.  Specifically, for all government employees except those in an expressly defined “public safety” class, Act 10 did four major things: it (1) prohibited collective bargaining on all topics except base wage increases not to exceed the rate of inflation; (2) prohibited so-called “fair share” agreements which force unwilling employees to pay union dues; (3) required bargaining representatives to stand for re-certification elections every year and earn a majority of votes from all represented employees; and (4) prohibited employees from paying their union dues through payroll deductions.

Seeking to take advantage of the confusion caused by Judge Colas’ contempt order, the Kenosha Education Association entered into hurried negotiations with the Kenosha School District, creating a collective bargaining agreement that ignores Act 10’s requirements.  On behalf of a Kenosha taxpayer and a Kenosha teacher, we filed a lawsuit seeking to declare that contract void.  Although the judge denied our request for a temporary injunction, he also denied the district’s and union’s motions to dismiss and ruled that despite Judge Colas’ ruling in MTI v. Walker, Act 10 applied to Kenosha.  In April, 2014, KEA raised a cross-claim against the district seeking to enforce the dues deduction terms of the contract and collect approximately $750,000 from the district.  The judge dismissed that claim for failing to abide by statutory notice of claim requirements.  In June, 2014, the district conceded that the contracts were illegal and agreed to a stipulated judgment.  After the supreme court ruled Act 10 constitutional in Madison Teachers v. Walker, the circuit court judge ruled in WILL’s favor, striking down the contract.

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