Milwaukee, WI – Today, the Wisconsin Institution of Law and Liberty ("WILL") sent a letter to the Milwaukee Area Technical College District Board reminding them that there is no "window" for local governments to ignore Act 10.  

Unions and government entities that negotiate contracts with terms that violate Act 10 run the risk of having those contracts declared unlawful. 

At a 5:00 meeting this evening, the MATC District Board is scheduled to vote on a labor agreement between MATC and AFT-Local 212.  Unfortunately, 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.

Act 10 sharply limits the scope of collective bargaining between local units of government and their employees. For example, bargaining is limited to base wages and wage increases cannot be higherthan 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.

The current MATC labor contract, which does not expire until February 2014, is not valid under Act 10 because it contains terms directly prohibited by Act 10. MATC pays for all the pension contributions and the employees pay nothing. In addition, employees pay only 1.5% of their salaries for family health insurance, which is unlikely to meet the 12% of premiums requirement. 

Therefore, the current labor agreement is extended – or not significantly changed – it would violate these parts of Act 10, among others. If any unit of government renegotiates, or reopens, a union contract that violates Act 10, it does so at great risk of an immediate legal challenge. 

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, as always, remains vigilant for any unit of government that does not follow the law.