Moving Our Contract Forward

Many of you know that our 2007-2009 contract is still held up in the corridors of state government. We need your help to move it forward – putting in place new provisions like wage increases and workplace protections. If you care about getting our new contract in place – and everyone should – and you can help, let us know by filling out a quick online form.

As a quick backgrounder, here’s how our collective bargaining works in a nutshell (if you know this, skip to below the italics):

We are state employees, so we bargain with both the UW and the state government through the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER). Our contract negotiations with these two entities lead to a “tentative agreement” which our union membership then votes upon to approve or reject. As an aside, you should also know two things about how TAA members drive the contract negotiation process: (1) TAA members participate in forming the bargaining platform that our Bargaining Team advances in contract negotiations and (2) Our Bargaining Team is made up of TAA members, assisted by TAA staff and a representative from AFT-Wisconsin, our parent federation.

After we approve a tentative agreement – which we did for the 2007-2009 contract in early December of 2008 – the Office of State Employment Relations drafts the contract into a bill that the state legislature considers. First, the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JoCER, or “joker”) considers the bill. After this committee passes the bill, it goes to the whole state legislature. From there, when both houses of the legislature pass the bill, the Governor signs it and our contract becomes a law. Then, it is implemented and we enjoy all the great new provisions.

Right now, we’re stuck between OSER and JoCER. There’s some background to this – and if you’d like to know the full story, send an email to Political Education Committee chair Peter Rickman. To move the bill, we need to put some pressure on the state legislators who are on JoCER. Fortunately for us, two of the key players represent parts of Madison and the two co-chairs of the committee are from the House of Labor (i.e. they come from union backgrounds). So we have allies that will work with us to move passage of our contract.

To make this happen, we need to do some organizing in the political arena. Good organizing consists of lots of union members getting involved. So we need you to be involved! Let us know that you want to be involved by filling out a quick online form – our Political Education Committee will follow up with you to get you set up with next steps.

And with any questions in the meantime, please feel free to be in touch with Political Education Committee chair Peter Rickman.