Contract Information & Update

After a conversation with the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER), we feel like the 2007-2009 contract is progressing along. In this conversation, we heard that OSER is preparing our contract for consideration in the September session of the state legislature.

Many of you probably know that as state employees, our contracts must be ratified by the state legislature. OSER prepares a contract for legislative consideration; then the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JoCER, or “joker”) reviews and votes to accept or reject the contract; after JoCER accepts the contract, it brings to the floor of both the state Assembly and state Senate legislation to adopt the contract; finally, after both houses of the legislature adopt the contract legislation, the governor signs it. Ultimately, the process from JoCER to gubernatorial signature should last a couple of weeks.

What this means is that we can look forward to our 2007-2009 contract going into effect sometime early in the fall semester. Our wages will increase and new contractual provisions about matters like catastrophic leave and union security will go into effect. If you have any questions about the new contract, feel free to contract our Contract Enforcement staffer, Claiborne Hill.

But to ensure that our contract continues along its now political path, we need to mobilize our membership to push the legislature and the governor to do the right thing and honor the contract be voted to accept after negotiations all the way back in December of 2008. If you can volunteer to be part of the political mobilization around this, please take a moment and fill out this brief online form – our political education team will be in touch with you about how you can mobilize.

This week, some leaders of our union, along with the Government Relations director of our statewide affiliate, AFT-Wisconsin, will be heading up to the Capitol to begin the grassroots lobbying on passage of the contract.

Finally, everyone should note that even with our 2007-2009 contract being ratified and going into effect, our 2009-2011 contract must now be negotiated. OSER has told us that they will be ready sometime in the fall to begin negotiations. Beginning last year, our Bargaining Team, led by Vice President of Bargaining Kevin Gibbons and Bargaining staffer Rob Henn, started the process of getting input and feedback on contract proposal items. The Bargaining Team continues to develop an initial proposal to present to OSER when it is ready to start negotiations. To win the gains we want, we will need to put together a contract campaign – that means we need to mobilize as a membership to make this happen. To get involved with this, contact Kevin to join the Bargaining Team or to indicate your desire to be a part of a contract campaign.

With any further questions about the contract, past, present, or future, please be in touch with Kevin, Rob, Claiborne, or our Co-Presidents Katie Lindstrom and Peter Rickman.