Key Detail of Kenosha Decertification Under Dispute

What has been confirmed by all parties is that the Kenosha Education Association (KEA), the third largest local affiliate of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, has been decertified as the exclusive bargaining representative. What hasn’t been confirmed is how this came about.

The collective bargaining agreement between the union and the school district expired July 1, meaning KEA was now covered by the provisions of Act 10. The union had until August 30 to recertify, which would require a simple majority vote of all bargaining unit members.

According to WISN radio talk show host Mark Belling, a vote was held and “only 37 percent of the teachers in the Kenosha Unified School District voted to reauthorize¬†the union,” and that “district spokesperson Tanya Ruder says the district was notified by the¬†Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission of the decertification vote.”

KEA released a statement from executive director Joe Kiriaki stating, “The Kenosha Education Association has not held a recertification election and the district’s claim of a vote is untrue.”

KEA further claims it never had any intention of seeking recertification, and WEAC spokesperson Christina Brey said that was true of a majority of WEAC affiliates.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran a story about the decertification but did not mention any vote. And I was unable to find any announcement of a pending vote in KEA materials during the summer. That having been said, it appears KEA was continuing with its plans to negotiate wages with the district, something it cannot do while decertified.

Bottom line: KEA no longer officially represents teachers in Kenosha, but there’s no available evidence that the members made that decision with a formal vote.