WILL Files Lawsuit Against Kenosha School District
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, along with the National Right to Work Foundation, has filed a lawsuit against the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD), KUSD Board of Education, and Kenosha Education Association for the collective bargaining agreement that was approved last Friday. Among other violations of state law, the agreement allows KUSD to force non-union teachers to pay union dues, i.e. “fair share” payments, have those dues be automatically deducted from teachers’ paychecks, and gives salaries that, at least for some teachers, are well beyond the limits permitted by Act 10 for collective bargaining agreements. WILL is asking for the CBA to be declared null and void.
The labor agreement was the product of Board members illegally bargaining with the Kenosha Education Association (KEA). Explains CJ Szafir, Education Policy Director, “It is a shame that despite being warned by its own legal counsel, and by WILL, that collectively bargaining with the KEA was illegal and would lead to costly litigation, four members of the Board chose to ignore those warnings and approve an agreement that completely disregards Act 10.”
The School Board voted 4-3 to ratify the labor agreement, which runs retroactively from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015 and covers all KUSD employees. It contains numerous terms and conditions that are illegal under Act 10, such pay provisions beyond base wages, changing teacher work days from an 8 hour work day to 7 ½ hours, automatic dues deductions, and “fair share” payments. Act 10 prohibits collective bargaining on any conditions of employment, other than total base wages.
Rick Esenberg, WILL President: “As we have said time and time again, until a higher court decides otherwise, Act 10 is the law of the land. Like all other state laws, it must be followed. Judge Colas’ decision in Dane County is not binding on our clients, the thousands of public employees in Kenosha, or the Kenosha School Board.”
WILL and NRTWF filed the lawsuit in Kenosha Circuit Court, today, on behalf of a KUSD public school teacher, who objected to her Act 10 rights being taken away, and Kristi Lacroix, a taxpayer of the KUSD, who challenged the use of taxpayer money being spent for an illegal purpose.
A copy of the Complaint can be found here.