Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maybe Act 10 - The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Part 1 - WERC worried about certification elections

What is going to happen with the union re-certification elections required next month under Maybe Act 10?  The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission seems to think this is a virtually impossible task.  What are the WERC man-hours required for the process of conducting 2,000 separate bargaining unit elections covering as many as 200,000 individual member ballots?  Based on WERC's past experience, it could be as many as 10,000 man hours by the WERC staff.  The WERC staff is only 21.5 FTE's, including the commissioners and legal counsel. 

OK, 10,000 man hours divided by 21.5 FTE's is 465 man-hours per WERC employee to conclude the elections by May 1.   There are 32 days left before May 1.  But the vast bulk of the work is going to be in compiling, sorting and counting the ballots, which apparently haven't even been printed up yet.  Hum, someone's going to be earning some righteous overtime in April.  Maybe the return envelopes for the ballots can be addressed to a private contractor in India.

If you read the letter from Ms. Nuemann from WERC, all that is missing is the "WTF."  Here is the money quote:

All of this may be financially and logistically impossible before May 1, 2011, even with a fee assessment. We wanted to apprise you of these thoughts and estimates now in the event you would like to discuss them with us at any point in time.
Uh, this might have needed some discussion before now.  The letter sure makes it sound like no one consulted WERC about the big union-busting plan in advance of rushing the BRB through the legislature.  This certification fiasco can be seen as part and parcel of an imperial approach to governance.  Or part and parcel of the utter secrecy approach to governance.  Or part and parcel of a devoutly dumb approach to governance. Or all three.

Assessing fees against the unions for these elections will be gasoline on the fire.

(Hat tip to Jimmy Breslin.)

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