Union Leaders File Lawsuit over Ambiguous Teacher Contracts // News // Uncategorized // June 9th, 2021

For Immediate Release     June 9, 2021

Contact: Michelle Michalak, 608.257.0491, michalakm@madisonteachers.org

Union Leaders Files Lawsuit over Ambiguous Teacher Contracts

Students and Educators Deserve to Successfully Close out the 2020-21 School Year on a Positive Note


TODAY, Leaders in Madison Teachers Incorporated, the union that represents educators employed by the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), filed a lawsuit against the District on behalf of all teachers and other members of the teacher bargaining unit. The lawsuit seeks an interpretation of language in the individual contracts, required by state law to be issued by May 15 of each year, which must define the employee’s salary for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Although the District issued contracts by the May 15 deadline, they contain inconsistent and contradictory terms defining salaries: in one place the contracts say the employees will be paid their current salary, and in another place they include scheduled pay increases. It is hoped that the court will declare that the contracts provide for the scheduled pay increases, which were previously adopted and authorized by the School Board.

MTI and its members actively sought correction of these contracts by the District, to no avail. Those efforts included numerous meetings, as well as a formal grievance pursuant to the District’s internal grievance process. Unfortunately, District administrators denied that grievance without comment.

Like so many of us, educators, including MTI members, have experienced the most trying year in memory. During the 2020-21 school year, they taught and supported the children of the District first in community centers, virtually, and then pivoted to hybrid and in-person learning, even before vaccines against COVID-19 were available to most of them. 

As if this were not enough, administrators have engaged in communications perceived by the union to be aimed at disrupting relationships between the union and its members. For example, the District reissued a second round of contracts to all salaried employees with new language that MTI rejected weeks earlier. MTI President Michael Jones said, “To send out contracts that were not agreed upon by both sides highlights that lack of collaboration. The District’s failure to address and resolve the contradictions within the issued contracts, which leaves educators uncertain about what they are being offered in compensation for the upcoming school year, sows more uncertainty after a year of constant trauma and unrest.” 

MTI is a member-led and democratic organization that represents 3900+ employees working for the Madison Metropolitan School District. MTI has maintained a strong voice on wages, benefits, and working conditions while advocating on issues of racial and social justice. 

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Read the Court Summons and Complaint