FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 2, 2020
Allison Payne, 314-413-8791
(Golden Valley, MN) Three residents and taxpayers of Independent School District 11, the Anoka-Hennepin School District, sued Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota and the District to stop the illegal subsidy of union political activities through teacher union business leave. The Plaintiffs are represented by the Upper Midwest Law Center, and the lawsuit was filed in Anoka County District Court.
The Complaint alleges that, under the Working Agreement between the District and the Union, the District is required to allow its teachers 100 days of paid leave per school year to work for the Union. The Union takes advantage of that agreement and removes teachers from schools—and those teachers are used for what the U.S. Supreme Court says is political activity, including door-knocking and phone-calling for union-supported candidates and political initiatives. In return, the Union does not reimburse the District for the full cost of these teachers’ leave and benefits. Instead, the Union only pays a substitute cost. The cost of a full-time teacher’s salary alone ranges from $227 to $562 per day in 2020. The substitute rate is between $135 and $145 per day.
The Complaint alleges that this arrangement violates Article XI of the Minnesota Constitution, as well as Minnesota’s Public Employer Labor Relations Act, sections 179A.13, subdivisions 2(2) and 3(10), as it provides illegal support for the Union. In New Jersey and Florida, these types of Union-School District arrangements have been found to violate state laws similar to Minnesota’s.
Don Huizenga, one of the plaintiffs who initiated this legal action, said: “As a taxpayer of District 11, I should never be forced to pay for AHEM’s political speech. There is no basis for our school district providing workers for AHEM for its favored political activities using our tax dollars. This illegal subsidy has to end.”
Doug Seaton, Esq., President of the Upper Midwest Law Center, added: “Minnesota law is clear: government employers cannot provide benefits to unions without full compensation, and unions cannot force government employers to subsidize union business. Just like in New Jersey and Florida, we are confident that the Anoka County District Court will stop this practice and require AHEM and ISD 11 to obey the law in their collective bargaining agreements.”
The legal action was filed in Anoka County District Court on October 30, 2020 as an action seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.