June 6, 2023

Union Achieves Settlement in Federal Teacher Pay Discrimination Case

Union Achieves Settlement in Federal Teacher Pay Discrimination Case Featured Image


June 6, 2023
Contact: Christina Brey, WEAC Public Affairs Manager, 608.213.3497

Union Achieves Settlement in Federal Teacher Pay Discrimination Case

Verona Area School District’s former administration was paying males more than females for same work.

A settlement has been reached in a teacher pay discrimination case brought forward by the Wisconsin Education Association Council and its local affiliate, the Verona Area Education Association. The case, alleging that the Verona Area School District violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963, was taken up by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which announced the settlement.

“This case is about all teachers being paid equitably,” said Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the largest union of Wisconsin Public School teachers.

Ten teachers will receive $450,000 in back pay, interest and retirement earnings. Separately, the district has also agreed to correct placements of other teachers on the salary schedule, impacting 367 teachers.

Wirtz-Olsen said unfair pay practices are common in the absence of salary schedules that lay out a clear pay pathway for educators. It’s one of the top reasons so many educators are choosing to leave the profession mid-career – and why so few young people are entering the profession.

“Our union is advancing Fair Pay Now initiatives across Wisconsin,” said Wirtz-Olsen. “Districts are on notice that if they engage in discrimination, our union will not stop until justice is realized. Every educator deserves a fair, predictable and transparent salary schedule.”

Teacher-members of the Verona Area Education Association uncovered the significant pay discrepancies three years ago, with pay differences of nearly $20,000 in some cases between male and female teachers holding similar experience and qualifications.

Despite repeated attempts by the union to resolve these discrepancies with Verona’s former administrative team, that administration refused to address the problems or work with teachers on the matter. In stark contrast, Verona’s current administration has collaborated with teachers to reach today’s settlement and to ensure all educators in Verona area compensated fairly.