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Teachers unions in Racine County decertify, disband

December 10, 2011 6:00 am  • 

RACINE COUNTY - One area teachers union has lost all bargaining power and another has completely disbanded in relation to Gov. Scott Walker's legislative changes to public union rules.

The North Cape School District teachers union last week did not get a majority of members to vote for recertification, something now required annually because of Walker's changes, which also limited collective bargaining for teachers unions to minimal wage increases. Without recertification, the union can continue to exist but is no longer able to collectively bargain with the district.

Of North Cape's 18 teachers union members, five voted for recertification Thursday while six voted against it, according to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. North Cape union officials did not return phone calls Friday.

The Yorkville School District teachers union did not hold a recertification vote, instead voting earlier this fall to simply disband.

In Yorkville, teachers voted by mail in late September to disband their union. Of 34 members, 29 returned the paper ballots and all voted to disband, according to Becky Seitz, the former union president.

"In the 30-some years we were part of the (American Federation of Teachers union), we never had to use their services. There were never any grievances that warranted that," Seitz said, explaining teachers found it unnecessary to keep paying monthly dues of about $50 when they weren't using union services anyway. "We really - and I'm going to be honest - never really got much out of it. We've always had a good relationship with our administrators and our board."

So the teachers decided to disband the union, though they could vote to start it up again if they want, Seitz said.

Of Racine County's 11 other teachers unions, seven voted to recertify between Nov. 18 and Thursday, the recertification deadline, according to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

Three other county teachers unions, including Racine Unified, have contract extensions valid until mid-2012 or 2013 and did not have to vote yet, according to officials at those districts.

The remaining Racine County teachers union, for Norway Raymond School District teachers, did not return phone calls Friday and was not listed in the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission vote list.

Recertification votes are also an issue for other education unions, such as those for educational assistants and custodians. For example, the Burlington Area School District's custodial union voted to recertify while Burlington's clerical union did not.

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Racine County teachers unions certification

- Voted to recertify

Burlington

Muskego-Norway

Union Grove High School

Union Grove Elementary School

Washington-Caldwell (Tichigan)

Waterford High School

Waterford Graded

- Voted not to recertify

North Cape

- Voted to disband

Yorkville

- No vote required, still certified under contract extension

Dover (Kansasville)

Racine

Raymond

- Unknown

Norway Raymond (Drought)

SOURCES: School officials and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.


CLARIFICATION: This article originally misstated the status of the North Cape School District teachers union. The union decertified, losing collective bargaining power, but did not formally disband.