Information on Governor Walker's Budget Adjustment Bill
On February 11, Governor Walker introduced a budget adjustment bill to address Wisconsin’s budgetary crisis. Specifically, Governor Walker’s proposal would do the following:
- The budget adjustment bill contains no cuts to local aids.
- The budget adjustment bill will include changes to WRS and to health care payments by employees. Neither the terms of WRS participation nor health care will be bargainable; they will become prohibited subjects of collective bargaining.
- The budget adjustment bill includes a requirement that employee contributions to WRS will be set at 5.8% for non-protective employees. The changes would take effect April 1, 2011.
- The bill also includes freedom for local government employers to mandate changes in health coverage plans that would generate savings; the Governor's goal is a 12.5% savings in health care contributions.
- Under the budget adjustment bill, increases in wages will be limited to increases in CPI. Larger increases could only be achieved upon approval by referendum. We believe this places hourly wages as a mandatory subject of bargaining, up to the threshold of CPI.
- Under the proposal, only hourly pay is bargainable. Lanes, steps, scales, and overtime would no longer be mandatory subjects of collective bargaining. The effect of this proposal would be to allow freezes in these areas.
- It appears that the only mandatory subject of collective bargaining would be wages, and only up to the threshold of CPI.
- It is not known at this time whether there is to be any change in the rules regarding non-economic terms within contracts, such as sick leave, vacation, etc.
- Under the budget adjustment bill, "fair share" (required union dues payments) would be eliminated. We also anticipate further provisions in the bill affecting representation, including perhaps eliminations of required union memberships, requirements for annual certification votes, and similar measures.
- Current contracts will not be abrogated by the bill. However, passage of the bill could create pressure to reopen existing contracts.
- A major exception to these provisions are protective employees: police and fire employees. Included in the exception (and thus unaffected by the proposal) would be Sheriff staff. Corrections employees are apparently to be included in the proposal.
- It was indicated that other reforms would follow in the biennial budget bill on February 22, 2011.
The WPPA will continue to monitor these legislation and post additional updates as developments occur.
While the WPPA appreciates that law enforcement is exempted from the bill's provisions, the WPPA opposes the bill on the basis of its union-busting measures. WPPA members are encouraged to contact their legislators to voice their concerns. Members can find their legislators their contact information by going to the following website: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx.