WEAC was at the forefront as two bills were announced to change the working conditions for state and municipal employees.
President Ron “Duff” Martin represented our union at press conferences in Madison and Milwaukee unveiling bills around civil service and collective bargaining introduced by Senator Chris Larson and representatives Chris Taylor and Jonathan Brosthoff made the announcement, saying the bills are a step in the right direction.
“Make no mistake, when educators don’t have the freedom to stand up for themselves, it hurts our students,” Martin said. “When educators are forced to live by a law that tells them to do what they are told and keep their mouth shut, it hurts. It hurts students.”
The bill, LRB-4911, would remove all restrictions for negotiating salaries, wages, hours, benefits and working conditions, as well as restores impasse resolution procedures. For teachers, preparation time and teacher evaluation systems become mandatory subjects of bargaining. Also, annual recertification elections are repealed and simple majority of those voting in certification elections is restored.
The civil service bill would make changes to how state employees are hired and fired. The probationary period would decrease from a year to six months, and employees could more easily be promoted to new jobs. The bill would also allow layoffs to be determined by both performance and seniority. Currently employers may only assess performance when making layoff decisions. The bills are circulating the legislature for cosponsors and will be introduced in early February.