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8th Circuit Rules UMLC Clients Can Sue Over Union Leave

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Contact: 

Chris Mulcahey

[email protected]

8th Circuit Rules UMLC Clients Can Sue Over Union Leave

Anoka-Hennepin taxpayers allege the teachers’ union is illegally using taxpayer dollars to advance union political causes

Golden Valley, MN – Yesterday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Upper Midwest Law Center’s clients that their lawsuit alleging misuse of taxpayer funds may proceed. The court pointed to the importance of the relationship between the taxpayers and the school district to demonstrate standing for the case.

“Unions have no shortage of money to engage in political activity, but they certainly should not be doing it with the public’s money,” said Doug Seaton, President and Founder of UMLC. “This continued inappropriate use of taxpayer money for union activism must be stopped. We’re confident that this case will set an important precedent for all public unions in Minnesota and across the country.”

On December 2, 2020, three residents of the Anoka-Hennepin School District sued Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota (American Federation of Teachers Local 7007) and the Anoka-Hennepin School District, seeking to stop teachers from taking 100 days per year of paid leave to door-knock and phone-bank in support of union-endorsed levies, political candidates, and other policies. This paid leave policy costs taxpayers between $67 and $346 dollars per leave day, which could amount to $34,600 per year in wages alone. The lawsuit argues that district taxpayers should not be forced to pay for the union’s members to push union politics.

The district court originally dismissed the case for lack of standing, but the 8th Circuit’s decision reverses that and sends the case back to the federal district court for a decision on its merits.

Read the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision here.

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Watch the fourteenth episode of Minnesota Law Weekly. Upper Midwest Law Center attorney James Dickey discusses one of Minnesota's most underrated issues: Government Transparency. Recently, UMLC filed a lawsuit in Minnesota District Court against the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Commissioner Steve Grove on behalf of Journalist Tony Webster over DEED's failure to provide Mr. Webster answers to data requests.

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