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Milwaukee County Members - Oct. 2010

Milwaukee County Members - Oct. 2010

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Published by: Chris Capper Liebenthal on Oct 18, 2010
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Milwaukee County Membersof Milwaukee District Council 48 AFSCME, AFL-CIO
October 2010It seems like years since we have had a Contract with Milwaukee County, given all the politicking, illegal actions, stall tactics, and bad faith bargaining the County has engaged in withthe Union. (The Contract actually expired on December 31, 2008.)As we all remember, we had a mutually negotiated agreement, ratified by our members, whichthe County Board initially laid over and ultimately voted down. Since that time, the parties have been at final and binding Interest Arbitration. But again, the County stalled the process byclaiming that the Union¶s Final Offer contained subjects that were not mandatory issues. Weworked out an agreement to resolve that issue only to have the County renege on the settlementagreement causing the claim to go to a hearing. Briefs have now been filed and we are awaitinga decision for the WERC (Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission). When the decisionis issued (which we think should be any day), the parties will have to finalize their offers andfinally select an arbitrator, get a date(s) for the hearing, hold the hearing, file briefs, and await adecision from the Arbitrator, who will select either the Union¶s or the County¶s Final Offer. It iswinner takes all.In the meantime, the County passed a 2010 Budget that contained a whole list of employeeconcessions that the County has never proposed to the Union in any bargaining session. Whenthey adopted the 2010 budget, however, the concessions were still never presented to the Union.And an unbalanced budget contrary to State Statute was adopted. The County Executive later unilaterally amended the actions of the County Board and issued more furlough days for a totalof 26, or a 10% reduction in wages for some of our members.We are now faced with yet another budget cycle for 2011 and again the County Executive has proposed an unbalanced budget, making further employee concessions a part of the budget andagain without ever presenting these concessionary proposals through negotiations.At this point, the focus of the Union¶s efforts to bring the County into line has been on the legalsystem. The Union has:
Filed a Bad Faith Bargaining charge against the County and the County Board.
Filed a charge of violation against the State Statute requiring a balanced budget.
Filed an EEOC complaint that the County¶s actions adversely impacted older workers.
Filed a claim that the County unilaterally reduced wages and benefits by their furloughdays without negotiating with the Union on a mandatory subject.
Filed a claim that the furlough days violated a previous arbitration decision, limiting thenumber of hours that could be reduced. This was appealed by the County to circuit court,where it was overturned and is now on appeal by the Union.

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