Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty Questions MATC Labor Agreement

MacIver News Service | February 26, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] The Milwaukee Area Technical College could vote on a labor contract with Local 212 at its Tuesday night meeting, which could be in violation of Wisconsin state law according to Rick Esenberg at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL).

“The Board has not released any information about the labor agreement, leaving taxpayers in the dark about how their money is going to be spent,” Esenberg stated in a letter to the MATC Board.

In a press release referencing the letter he reiterated the rules for collective bargaining under Act 10:

“Bargaining is limited to base wages and wage increases cannot be higher than the cost of living without approval via citizen referendum. Collective bargaining agreements may not address items such as staffing, work rules, and employee discipline. In addition, Wisconsin statutes currently prohibit a defined pension plan for general public employees unless the employees contribute half of all contributions. If an employer offers a healthcare plan, the employees must pay at least 12% of the average cost of premiums.”

According to Attachment P in MATC’s agenda, the Board has reached a tentative agreement with representatives of Local 212 and ratified it on Monday. The tentative agreement, if approved tonight, would begin February 16, 2014 and run through February 15, 2015.

None of the terms of MATC’s potential agreement has been released to the public and Esenberg is questioning if the agreement is within the confines of Act 10.

In 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 10. That law limits labor negotiations with public employees to salary increases matching inflation, and nothing else.

Before Act 10 became law, MATC agreed to a labor contract that goes through February 2014. That contract cannot be renewed, because many of the terms are now in violation of state law.

The MATC board is not elected by voters, yet still has taxing authority. In addition to this absence of elected representation, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is especially concerned over the secretive nature of the tentative agreement.

The full press release from WILL can be seen here: 2013-02-26 MATC Press Release (1).pdf.