The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty has sent a letter to the Kenosha Unified School District Board of Education reminding them that Act 10 is still the law of the land and that there is no “window” to evade it. The Board has scheduled a special meeting today at 5:30 pm (or 8:00 pm) for “discussion/action regarding ratification of Collective Bargaining Agreements.” WILL warned the Board that if the CBA violates state law, as set forth under Act 10, it runs the risk of a lawsuit by a taxpayer or teacher.
Over the weekend, members of the Kenosha School Board and Kenosha Educators Association (KEA) bargained over contract proposals – which is a violation of Act 10 in itself. Unfortunately, the Board is keeping the public in the dark about the details of the CBA. But, in a sign that it may violate Act 10, the KEA and members of the Board have been arguing that Judge Colas’ contempt order allows for them to collectively bargain and agree to a CBA with terms that violates Act 10.
As our letter to the Board explains, that claim is not accurate. Circuit court decisions have no precedential value on anyone other than the parties to the lawsuit – and none of the thousands of public employees in Kenosha were parties to the Madison Teachers, Inc. lawsuit. Further, no court with jurisdiction over the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) has ever declared Act 10 to be unconstitutional
Rick Esenberg, President of WILL, explains, “If the Kenosha School Board did in fact collectively bargain and, tonight, approves a CBA with terms that violate Act 10, then it would be subjecting itself to litigation by taxpayers who object to their money being spent illegally or teachers who do not wish to be bound to an illegal contract.” If such a lawsuit would be successful, the CBA may be declared null and void.
The risk is not theoretical. Last spring, on behalf of a teacher, WILL filed a lawsuit against the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) for violating Act 10 by collectively bargain with the employees’ unions, as well as approving a contract that included terms that violated Act 10.