MADISON (WKOW) -- Under the collective bargaining law, also known as Act 10, all public sector unions have to recertify each year. It's a new requirement under law, but one local union is opting against recertification.
The Teaching Assistants' Association (TAA) was front and center during the protest over collective bargaining and co-president Adrienne Pagac says their presence as a union isn't going anywhere.
Adrienne Pagac says, "regardless of whether we have this tool of collective bargaining rights we're still going to be a union and there are a lot of unions in the US that don't have the right to collectively bargain, but still actively and aggressively represent their membership."
Last week, the TAA spent nearly 5 hours discussing their unions future. They voted to not seek recertification based on new rules required in Governor Scott Walker's Act 10. That means the TAA will not be legally recognized by the state as a union that can collectively bargain.
Pagac says, "the only difference it makes is we will no longer sit across from the Office of State Employee Relations (OSER) and negotiate wages through a collective bargaining agreement. That's the only thing it means."
The TAA has been around since 1969. They are the oldest graduate student worker union in the united states. Pagac says over the course of the union's history there have been times they have had legal recognition and times they have not.
Pagac says, "unions existed prior to having this legal recognition of being an exclusive bargaining agent and we also continue to be unions when those rights have been taken away which we see Act 10 very much in place to do and is trying to disempower unions."
But Pagac says in no way is the TAA disempowered, in fact, she says their future is rather bright.
Pagac says, "unions represent their workers in the work place on the job to make sure workers aren't abused or maltreated by their boss or manager. They advocate for concerns on the job and in the community and it goes far beyond the collective bargaining table."
Pagac says they believe the university will continue to work with them as a union despite the fact they will not have any legal recognition. The UW University did send out a message to the TAA during the collective bargaining battle saying they plan to continue to act in a way that is consistent with their current contracts.
But they have not released any comment since the TAA's decision to not recertify.
The TAA has about 2,800 members in its bargaining unit. They can, at any time, decide to get recertified.
It would cost them $1,500 to do so, but for much larger unions, that cost would be much higher.