Details on MATC Union Contract, Board Deliberations

Last night, the Milwaukee Area Technical College District Board voted, 5-3, to approve a new contract with AFT-Local 212 for full-time faculty, part-time faculty, and paraprofessionals.  The current contract does not expire until February 15, 2014, and the new contract begins then and runs through February 15, 2015.

According to WILL Associate Counsel Tom Kamenick, who attended last night’s board meeting, the Board heard a summary of the contract including the following terms with fiscal impacts:

  • A total of $14.3 million in savings compared to the last contract
  • A $100 million long-term reduction in retirement benefits other than pensions
  • Employees will now contribute 100% of their employee share toward their Wisconsin Retirement System pension benefits
  • Employees will pay 12.6% of their health insurance premiums
  • No general wage increase
  • Step increases remain the same, but now each step is two years, rather than one
  • Reductions in pay for overload, part-time, and summer school teaching
  • Changes in sick leave payouts, long-term disability insurance, retirement requirements for new-hires
  • A max salary on the step scale of about $101,000 (not including taking on additional teaching assignments)
  • It does not increase class sizes or teaching loads.  According to Director Jose Perez, City of Milwaukee alderman, those items were not considered by the negotiating teams.

The directors were provided an executive summary of the contract, but that summary was not available to the public at the meeting.  Based on several conversations between directors, the president, and the board’s attorney, it seems the contract contains other provisions that don’t have fiscal impacts, such as changes in hiring procedures.

Three board members voted against the contract: Michael G. Katz, President of Molded Dimensions, Inc., David A Dull, President/CEO of Allis Roller, LLC, and Kurt D. Wachholz, Superintendent of West Allis-West Milwaukee School District.  Wachholz believed the contract violated Act 10.  Dull argued that there was no need for a new contract now, questioned the motivation behind negotiating a new contract now, and believed adopting the contract would open MATC up to litigation.  Katz told the board he thought the terms of the contract were good, but chose to vote against it because the process was flawed and rushing a contract through at this time did not serve all of MATC’s constituencies, including students, faculty, administrators, the business community, and taxpayers.

All signs point to this contract violating Act 10, although we will not be sure until a copy of the contract or at least the summary becomes available.  As we noted in a press release and letter to the board earlier this week, Act 10 still remains the law in Wisconsin.  The Dane Count circuit court’s decision does not enjoin implementation of Act 10, and its declaratory ruling is only binding on the parties to that lawsuit.  WILL intends to further investigate the matter and, if the facts show that the contract violates Act 10, to consider taking appropriate legal action to challenge any unlawful conduct by the MATC Board.

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