Lawsuit Filed Over the Kenosha School Board’s New Union Contracts

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty Had Warned Board Not to Act Before Supreme Court Reviews Colas’ Decision

[Kenosha, Wisc…] Less than a week after entering into new labor contracts, the Kenosha School Board, the Kenosha School District, and the Kenosha Education Association are all being sued by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) for violating collective bargaining laws.

The School Board approved the new labor contracts at a special meeting on Friday morning, November 15th. The board first saw the contract right before its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night. It decided to wait until its next meeting on November 26th. However, on Thursday it was announced there would be a special meeting the next morning.

On Tuesday, school board members had asked their legal counsel if it was even legal to approve new contracts. A Dane County circuit court judge had declared Act 10 could not be enforced anywhere in the state. Union leaders agreed, but WILL warned the school board that the circuit court judge’s ruling could only apply to the actual plantiffs in the case.

Rick Esenberg, WILL President, said, “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 warned if the Kenosha School Board approved a new contract, it “would lead to costly litigation.”

The new contract includes shorter workdays, automatic dues deductions, and “fair share” payments for all employees. It goes through June 30, 2015, with a retroactive start date of July 1, 2013.