Friday, March 25, 2011

BRB Though Stayed Already Paying Off for Walker?

The Wisconsin State Journal reported this morning on significant contract concessions obtained from full and part-time staff at Madison Area Technical College in negotiations following the introduction of the Governor's Budget Repair Bill in February.

Money Quotes:
The new three-year contracts are expected to save the college about $4.9 million next year, helping fill an expected $10.3 million shortfall under Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget.

In exchange for that promise to try to avoid layoffs, full-time faculty and support staff agreed to essentially take a pay cut. The board voted unanimously Thursday night to amend existing three-year contracts so the two groups will receive smaller annual raises and pay the full employee contribution into their pensions, estimated at nearly 6 percent of their salaries. The new contracts will run from Thursday through March 23, 2014.

The board also voted to approve a new contract for part-time faculty. Under the three-year contract, part-time instructors will get no raises and those who participate in the state retirement system would also have to pay the full employee amount.

Part-time faculty may have missed an opportunity to get significant raises by waiting to ratify a tentative agreement while battling the college in court over how courses are assigned. An agreement reached nearly a year ago would have given them raises between 3 and 12 percent.

But the board rejected that deal earlier this month, citing the changed landscape under Walker's collective bargaining bill, which is on its way to becoming law. Under the new contract, the part-time faculty agreed to drop its legal case on course assignments, said Jon Anderson, MATC attorney.

Full-time faculty and staff will still get raises, but they will be smaller. Under the contract concessions, raises will be tied to increases in the consumer price index — currently estimated at 1.4 percent a year — rather than 2 percent in the first two years and 2.5 percent in the third year.
Regardless of the judicial outcome of the Budget Repair Bill, these result at MATC, and similar results around the state on public worker contracts, will be touted by the Governor as demonstrating that his introduction of the BRB has paid substantial dividends to the taxpayers of the state.

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