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The nonpartisan Wisconsin State Legislature Legislative Council has released an informational memo on the new Walker rule that gives school boards and other municipalities the "tool" of not including educational and other wage add-ons workers have earned over the years in the calculation of base wages in union contracts.  For teachers, this is, on average, 30% of a teacher's salary. While school boards and other municipalities can restore that funding was taken out of the contract, it now "granted at the discretion of the municipal employer.":

As described above, MERA creates the process for collective bargaining on base wages and defines “base wages” as excluding certain types of compensation. This means that any compensation that is not “base wages” is not a subject of collective bargaining and is granted at the discretion of the municipal employer.


Although not defined in MERA itself, “supplemental compensation” generally means pay that is given to an individual in consideration for completion of approved educational courses and that is given as a supplement to the basic pay set for the person’s position. [See, e.g., s. 40.05(4) (b) and (bm), Stats.]


EmR1203 creates the calculation to implement collective bargaining on base wages under MERA in order to determine the maximum amount of base wages that are subject to collective bargaining. “Base wages,” for purposes of EmR1203, excludes supplemental compensation, such as education credits or credentials in pay schedules, overtime, premium pay, lump sum merit pay, performance pay, and extra duty pay.


Given the exclusion of supplemental compensation from base wages, as required by MERA, the base wage rate subject to collective bargaining for a particular general municipal employee position may be different than a person’s actual wage rate. Supplemental compensation, or any wages that are not “base wages,” are not subject to collective bargaining and are granted at the discretion of the municipal employer.

As discussed before, while it is true that school boards and other employers can put back the huge sum of money that was removed for "educational add-ons" and other "add-ons," many school boards will simply not have the money to restore the funding and many short-sighted districts will use the tool to balance their budgets on the backs of teachers. 

The Nation's John Nichols, who is also the associate editor of the Capitol Times has been all over this, explaining on Friday that the reason why this isn't big news quite yet is that the new Walker rule is "so draconian, people can't believe it's real."

MTI, the Madison teachers union, has come out strong, saying in a release, "only in Walker's world could a 'cost of living increase' equal a substantial pay cut."

In addition, state reps Mark Pocan, Brett Davis and Sondy Pope-Roberts have both been speaking out about this, with Pope-Roberts saying “these rules allow for teachers’ base pay to be redefined, and I think that’s absurd” and Pocan, framing the debate against Walker's recent bonuses for cronies said, "Ask Wisconsinites if they'd rather take money out of the pockets of experienced public school teachers with advanced education or give raises to a select few:  I guarantee you, Wisconsin won't stand with Walker."

Another angle that the Capital Times points out in an editorial is that this will disproportionately hit women:  

For the best and the brightest teachers in Wisconsin, a majority of whom happen to be women, Scott Walker's proposal could mean a pay CUT of as much as 30 percent.
This is real.  ALL of the state's top labor lawyers have reached a consensus that it is real. And as soon as it becomes widely known, Wisconsin is going erupt once again.

For more information, I encourage people to listen to this interview with Tim Hawks, the labor attorney that represents American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, Green Bay Education Association and Madison Teachers’ Inc:

Or this interview with (my wife) Katy Lounsbury, whose clients include AFSCME Council 40, Madison Firefighters and Madison Streets Department:

Or this interview with AFSCME Council 24 president, Marty Beil:

Originally posted to Jud Lounsbury on Fri May 04, 2012 at 08:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope that the cuts come before... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Suzanne 3, Sand Hill Crane

    I hope that many of the school districts' cuts come before the recall election so they can get the press and outrage going because when they come after, it will be too late.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:17:45 AM PDT

    •  They won't come before the Recall... (6+ / 0-)

      because this new rule won't be implemented until each public sector union's NEXT contract is being negotiated.  The current contracts they are each operating under will not be expiring in the next four weeks and even then, the actual cuts in pay won't be seen in paychecks until the new contract takes effect.

      That is why this issue is critical and MUST be spread quickly.

      Not to mention, this new rule removed the ability for "interest arbitration"...meaning that the unions will not have recourse if they get stiffed by the school boards even on the meager "Cost of Living" increase.  Also, because the new maximum base wage is a fraction of what many of these employees made before, the school districts can "bargain in good faith" by providing the maximum COL increase, drop a $4,000 "bonus" on top and STILL receive a large pay cut.

  •  For the record, I am sick of the word 'tools'. (5+ / 0-)

    The only 'tool' in Wisconsin right now is Walker.  

  •  another early nauseous morning of walkerworld. (6+ / 0-)

    if this "tool" isn't tossed in the recall, we really will have lost the "war" on americans!

    when the republicans under bush came up with the FEAR! FEAR! FEAR! strategy, little did anyone realize what we really needed to "FEAR" were republicans.  forget al qaeda, forget bin laden, forget the iraqis, forget iran - FEAR these nutjobs who are homegrown american terrorists setting out to destroy this nation from within!

    RECALL WALKER (and all the rest of these nutjobs!)

  •  this stupid rule will only continue to take money (3+ / 0-)

    Out of the pockets of real working folks - the 99% -  which will lead to further job losses in Wisconsin.

    I am beginning to think that Walker knew his 250,000 jobs number was unattainable and that his sole objective was to kill the unions and public sector workers.  He could care less that we are bleeding jobs because they are not the jobs he cares about.

    What a $4:+head.   This needs to become part of the recall dialogue along with the John doe investigation.  

  •  I predict $2000/head pay cut for state employees (4+ / 0-)

    In FY13.

    Reasoning:
     - There are approximately 90,000 of them.
     - This would therefore save the state about $180 million.
     - Walker's already raided $26 million in mortgage settlement funds.
     - Thus the state coffers will be better off than previously predicted by something like $210 million.
     - Hence the $208.2 million deficit projection becomes break even without having to submit an embarrassing Budget Repair Bill (required by statute and Constitution).

    It's not just about screwing public employees, it's about saving Walker's face and his "hurr durr I balanced the budget" bullshit talking point.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:46:37 AM PDT

    •  Nope, not any time soon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GeoffT

      since state employees aren't getting raises, anyway, not this year and not next year under Walker.  He told us so.  

      (We know the solution -- note "under Walker" -- to that.)

      And that will make six to seven years (the latter for UW faculty and only UW faculty of all state employees) without raises for state employees.   This order is terrible for teachers and others, yes.  But they have been getting raises every year.

      With the Doyle cuts -- don't forget that a Dem did it to us,  and no one spoke up for us -- and then the Walker cuts, this state employee is taking home what she took home ten years ago.  Just saying:  Teachers, you want our support, but remember to support us next time.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:16:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The diary concentrated on (0+ / 0-)

        The memos regarding local government employees.

        There's a draft WERC rule to screw state employees in much the same way as the one for local employees.

        Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

        by GeoffT on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:40:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're still not seeing it. (0+ / 0-)

          In your link to the WERC rule, see the word "increases"?

          This rule doesn't even come unless and until there are raises.  And again, there are none for years ahead for state employees.  When K12 teachers work for teachers working for state universities to get any raises at all for the first time in years, let me know.

          When K12 teachers work for state teachers to even get the right to collective bargaining for anything at all, let me know -- because for decades, teachers at state universities were banned from collective bargaining by state law, and we begged for support from the teachers' union and other unions -- let me know.  And we never got their backing.  (I know; I personally was involved in this.)

          Workers are supposed to stand together for all workers to have collective bargaining rights, not just when some who had them see them going away.  If they had fought for the state universities' teachers, that could have meant a powerful voice at the protests -- and statewide at more than two dozen campuses.

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:25:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see that now (0+ / 0-)

            But that refers to "the maximum dollar amount subject to collectively bargained increases in a general state employee bargaining unit’s base wages"

            §111.91(3)(a) is:

            (3) The employer is prohibited from bargaining with a collective bargaining unit containing a general employee with respect to any of the following:
            (a) Any factor or condition of employment except wages, which includes only total base wages and excludes any other compensation, which includes, but is not limited to, overtime, premium pay, merit pay, performance pay, supplemental compensation, pay schedules, and automatic pay progressions.
            Seems that state employee's non-base wages are (un)fair game for whatever the employer wishes to unilaterally impose. Am I still missing something?

            Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

            by GeoffT on Fri May 04, 2012 at 04:37:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  during the GM/Chyco bailout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sand Hill Crane, GeoffT

    there was a UAW bashing discussion at an auto forum that I frequent.  During the bashing of the auto labor unions by the resident bagger types on the site, a UAW member brought up that teachers were overpaid to deflect.  The baggers went bersek and eviscerated the UAW guy with arguements about how the teachers have higher levels of education compared to a typical auto worker, including many with graduate degrees, cited studies showing teacher pay was commensurate with other professions based on education and experience, explained that teachers don't just punch a clock in and out, and talked about the critical importance of education in society.   Of course that was then.  Apparantly the world is upside-down now.

  •  Oh, my God (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    non acquiescer, limae, ruleoflaw

    Here we go again.  Another anti teacher hit--I am just devastated by this.  This is Walker's back door to destroying the pension system--if there is lower teacher pay ---> less money goes into the pension system---> pension system becomes insolvent.  We have one of the best pension systems, and that asshole is going to kill that, too.  I swear, I don't know what is going to happen if we can't prevail in the recall election.  WI will be a third world country within 5 years.  If this doesn't get teachers and public workers to the polls, then I don't know what will.

    We're so tired of getting hit like this, we are just becoming numb.  I know that's how I feel right now....what's next?  

    Wisconsin: It's war, you know. We didn't start it, but we'll keep fighting in it until we win

    by isewquilts2 on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:56:20 AM PDT

  •  more explanation needed (0+ / 0-)

    Besides the add-on for advanced education, what exactly are the other add-ons that would made discretionary?  Are years of experience considered an add-on or is that calculated into the base pay?

    •  ok, I read the memo above (0+ / 0-)

      not only does this exclude education from base pay, it also excluded years of experience.  So it appears that a district could pay a teacher just out of college the same as teacher with a graduate degree and 20 years of experience.  

    •  From the memo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Short Bus

      Base pay excludes "[...] overtime, premium pay, merit pay, performance pay, supplemental compensation, pay schedules, and automatic pay progressions."  Or years of experience ("step" changes).

      Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

      by GeoffT on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:25:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  still not clear - already spelled out in Act 10 (0+ / 0-)

    as far as I can tell, that base wages don't include all those things.

    E.g.

    111.70 (4) (mb)  Prohibited subjects of bargaining;
    general municipal employees.  The municipal employer
    is prohibited from bargaining collectively with a collective bargaining unit containing a general municipal
    employee with respect to any of the following:
    1.  Any factor or condition of employment except
    wages, which includes only total base wages and
    excludes any other compensation, which includes, but is
    not limited to, overtime, premium pay, merit pay, performance pay, supplemental compensation, pay schedules,
    and automatic pay progressions
    http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/...

    How does Walker's new rule change things?

    Walker, your pink slip is coming, unless the orange jumpsuit gets you first.

    by non acquiescer on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:58:51 AM PDT

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (0+ / 0-)

    Badger State Progressive.

    This dairy was originally recommended to BSP byWisco Wherls.
    Thanks Wherls!

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Sat May 05, 2012 at 06:06:09 AM PDT

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