Skip to comments.Budget Chaos: Dane County Rushes New Labor Contracts [Wisconsin government employees' unions]
Posted on 09/21/2012 9:18:13 AM PDT by Hunton Peck
[Madison, Wisc...] In what were likely the shortest negotiations in their history, the Dane County Board and its employees' unions reached a contract agreement Thursday night less than 48 hours after the negotiations were announced to the public.
Ordinarily, contract negotiations, even in Dane County, involve months of wrangling over wages, benefits, and layoffs. Negotiations in 2010 began in the fall, and an agreement was reached in January 2011 only after union leaders saw state reforms on the horizon.
Those reforms, called Act 10, limited government unions' bargaining authority to wage increases within the rate of inflation. Last Friday, a Dane County judge, Juan Colas, struck down the law on the grounds it was unconstitutional. The State of Wisconsin is already in the process of undoing that decision.
With this temporary reprieve, Dane County jumped to extend the union contracts through 2015. This enthusiasm, in addition to the brevity of the negotiations, left some questioning whether the county negotiated the contracts in good faith on behalf of its taxpayers.
"It can take up to a year to negotiate these deals, either this has been in the works for some time or there are major giveaways to the Unions to speed up the process," said Luke Hilgemann, Americans for Prosperity Foundation Wisconsin State Director.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi issued a statement following Thursday night's meeting, saying the contract provides the county financial flexibility and security to its employees.
"This agreement proves again you can protect both taxpayers and the people who go to work for them everyday and plow roads, care for kids, and keep our community great," Parisi said. "In Dane County we believe in using the right tools for the right job, and the Dane County Way has saved nearly $4 million dollars in the last two years of my administration."
The contract included wage reductions up to 1.9 percent and employee participation in an unpaid voluntary leave program if needed to preserve core services. Parisi said this will save $5 million in 2015. The board approved the contracts on a 29-8 vote. The union members must still ratify the contract.
Governor Walker's administration, in response to Dane County's move, reiterated the strengths of Act 10 and the cost saving tools it provides to local governments. His office estimates the reforms have already led to a billion dollars in savings around the state. Also, the law requires discussions of employee compensation take place in the open. Contract negotiations between government officials and unions always takes place behind closed doors and are not subject to open meetings laws.
Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) fears the contracts will cause Dane County to pressure the state for more funds to meet its obligations.
"The failure of Dane County to utilize the long term cost savings tools of Act 10 will eventually lead to a significant fiscal crisis," Nass said. "The consequences of that crisis should be Dane County's alone."
The MacIver News Service attempted to contact Board of Supervisors Chair Scott McDonell, but that call was not returned.
Madison already has some of the highest property taxes in the state doesn’t it? Won’t this raise them more?
Try the judge for collusion and abuse of power in office.
Sounds like collusion between the unions and the Dem party. Money goes from taxpayers, to the unions, to the Party.
Something like that may fly anywhere else. But this is a Dane County judge. Not to mention the DA being a shill for every leftist cause/group/person/idea/etc...
Its going to be amusing when Dane County goes to Walker and begs for more funding when this ruling is overturned.
They will get a solid DROP DEAD from him.
It’ll be tax increases and layoffs but the large majority of Dane County residents aren’t smart enough to know that they just slit their own throats.
Wisconsin: Is Colas’ ruling part of a scam? (Thanks to HuntonPeck)
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
Act 10, limited government unions' bargaining authority to wage increases within the rate of inflation. Last Friday, a Dane County judge, Juan Colas, struck down the law on the grounds it was unconstitutional... Dane County jumped to extend the union contracts through 2015. This enthusiasm, in addition to the brevity of the negotiations, left some questioning whether the county negotiated the contracts in good faith on behalf of its taxpayers.
Yeah I know. We need to basically replace all of Dane County and also change the seat of government out of madistan.
These people should be dragged from their offices into the streets and tarred and feathered.
It’s special interest government. Power is not having to follow the laws and regs ordinary people have to.
They will get a solid DROP DEAD from him.
I wish I was as confident of that as you are. I suspect that Scott Walker will cave into the demands for more state funds, and if he doesn't, than some RAT bastard, liberal, union, demoRAT judge will issue an injunction to force the payoff.... and Walker will cave in on this. Walker should have told this judge to Eff__off, and likewise the WI photo ID bill is also ruled against by several liberal judges. It is high time that Scott Walker & other Repub governors should just issue executive rulings that declare these judge's decisions to be null & void.
All departments in the City of Madison were recently told they need to cut expenses by 5%. Guess where they’re starting? That’s right, with employees. The employees who keep their jobs will get more, but more employees will be laid off.
They voted for these jerks. They got the result!
On the one hand, I agree completely! On the other, my beloved’s job is one that may be cut. He’ll find out in November.
my account is too new to freepmail but i would like to be on the ‘sconi list
amen! great post and agree!
You’re on the list!
The chocolate ration has been increased from 30 grams to 25 grams, and gasoline has dropped to $5.50 a gallon, Citizen!!!
How ironic that the contract negotiations were announced on September 19 - International Talk Like A Pirate Day!
Dane County and its unions treated the taxpeasants to a game of "The Pirate Captain and The Cabin Boy" - dry.
This contract does not appear to be a give away to the Union. Wage decreases are in it?
What am I missing?
I don’t know the details of the contract, but typically, the most lucrative part of being a government employee is the benefits, not the salary or wages. Plus, the benefits of the WI teacher contracts have been largely to the unions themselves, rather than to the membership (the unions have historically run the sole health insurance provider the districts are permitted to contract with, for example, but one of the changes in Act 10 was to open up the process to competition by third-party insurers).
The union members may well end up losing in the longer run, especially if the higher overall costs under the contracts force layoffs rather than other savings when budgets must be cut. You can be sure, however, that the unions didn’t jump all over the recent — and soon to be overruled — county court decision with such haste in order to reduce the size of their piece of the pie. If they had, the union folks with their Che t-shirts wouldn’t have been out celebrating in Madison this week.
A union which has to accept a wage decrease is a defeat for that union no matter what the benefits are.