UW Collective Bargaining

As State Budget Worsens, Governor and Legislature Prepare to Hike Labor Costs Throughout UW System

As you know, the State Budget is in the hole to the tune of perhaps six point five billion dollars.

New revenue estimates will be out soon that will attempt to nail down just how dire the situation is.

But that’s not stopping the Governor and some in the legislature from exacerbating the problem by moving to allow employees within the University of Wisconsin to collectively bargain, a move that puts taxpayers at increased risk for higher taxes and higher tuition in the future.

While small and large businesses alike are struggling to keep all costs DOWN in an effort to save not only jobs but entire companies, state government is considering proposals that will INCREASE labor costs.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, although represented faculty are located in a total of 31 states, a majority are located in the high-tax states of California, New Jersey, and New York.

Previous attempts to include this provision within the State Budget failed when, as has been routine, significant policy items were stripped during the legislature’s review of the Governor’s proposals.

While providing the authority to engage in collective bargaining, a move that would certainly lead to increased labor costs within the UW System, no funds were even allocated for the necessary state employees to participate in the negotiations. The Legislature anticipates it would cost the state more than $2 million a year just to establish the system–that’s before any new wage agreements are negotiated.

From the LFB:

These major additional responsibilities would have a fiscal effect for the UW System. However, the bill provides no funding or additional positions to the UW System for this purpose. In fiscal notes prepared for the 2007 session bills relating to UW collective bargaining (AB 726 and SB 353), UW System officials indicated that up to $2.2 million and 38.0 positions annually would be required for this work, assuming 30 separate collective bargaining units were organized. Although the need for positions and funding for this purpose was not discussed at the UW System’s budget briefing before the Committee, in recent material submitted by the UW System relating to the AB 75 provisions, officials now indicate that $2.2 million and 32.0 FTE positions annually may be required for this work. The estimate assumes six collective bargaining units (plus a statewide unit for academic staff supervisors, which the bill would also authorize). The $2.2 million would be compromised of approximately $1.5 million GPR and $0.7 million PR.

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up the UW Collective bargaining proposal tomorrow.

Source Document: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/lfb/2009-11Budget/Budget%20Papers/607.pdf