'My Dues Paid For the Election of Barack Obama and All the Nonsense That Happened in Madison'

Veteran English teacher Kristi Lacroix isn’t easily intimidated.  She reports that she has been “laughed at, screamed at  and spit on”  due to her unabashed opposition to compulsory union dues and fees and union monopoly-bargaining abuses in K-12 public education.

It’s been roughly two years since the Wisconsin Legislature approved and Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Act 10, which includes a provision protecting the Right to Work of public school teachers and most other state and local public employees.  That means employees covered under the statute can’t be fired for joining and paying dues to a union, or for refusing to do either.

Unfortunately for Lacroix, however, she is still forced to fork over $108 in “agency” fees every month to the National Education Association-affiliated Kenosha Education Association teacher union (KEA/NEA), an organization she would never voluntarily join.  That’s because the compulsory-unionism contract to which she is subject was ratified before Act 10 took effect, and won’t expire until this summer.

Lacroix’s forced-fee payment is just 1.2% lower than full compulsory union dues.  KEA union bosses claim they can legally extract so much money from her and other union nonmembers because they spend practically no union treasury money on politics or other nonbargaining activities.

Lacroix is confident that’s a lie, and that a large share of forced fee payers’ money actually goes into electioneering and lobbying, such as Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns and the raucous 2011 protests teacher and other government unions staged against Act 10 in Madison.    (See the news story linked below for more information.)  And, with the assistance of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, she and other teachers are fighting to make sure all Badger State teachers are fully protected from compulsory union dues once current contracts authorizing them expire:

Lacroix has taken her support of the new restrictions on collective bargaining to court, joining at least two other Wisconsin educators filing friend of the court briefs in Dane County Circuit Court in support of the law. In September, Dane County Judge Juan Colas declared key provisions of Act 10 null and void, arguing the law violates the state and U.S. constitutions. The lawsuit was brought by the Madison teachers union.

The state has appealed.

In their brief, the teachers argue the Wisconsin Court of Appeals should overturn the lower court’s decision. The teachers’ arguments in part stand on the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, a three-judge panel that upheld all of Act 10.

The National Right to Work Foundation, a nonprofit legal defense organization fighting against compulsory union membership, is assisting the educators’ legal efforts.

WI teachers take fight for Walker’s collective bargaining law to court