MADISON (WKOW) -- The City of Madison is following in the footsteps of Dane County in extending the contract of its largest employee union.
Both local governments are taking advantage of Dane County Judge Juan Colas' ruling that overturned Act 10, the law which had severely restricted collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in Wisconsin.
Officials from AFSCME and the City of Madison met on regular business last Thursday. but the issue of a contract exension quickly dominated the discussion.
"We knew that we had a very short window," said Jennifer McCulley, an AFSCME Staff Representative. "We committed all day Friday to the discussion, and we were lucky enough to come up with an agreement."
The agreement caps potential cuts to employee wage and health benefits at three percent through March of 2015, giving employees security and the city a savings of up to $2 million.
"It also keeps in place things like just cause, the independent grievance arbitration language that we have," said McCulley.
AFSCME, which stands for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is now sending out letters to just about every other local unit of government that falls under Judge Colas' ruling.
"With this new ruling, we're trying to figure out, if we do try to comply with it, where do we start," said Dave O'Connell, Human Resources Director for Rock County.
O'Connell says he isn't going to be rushing back to the bargaining table.
"At this point we're still going year by year. And that's a little bit if a detriment to us, we'd like to take a longer picture, but, frankly we're a little concerned about going too far out too quickly," said O'Connell, who worries any agreement reached now, wouldn't be valid if Judge Colas' ruling is reversed on appeal.
The City of Madison, Dane County and AFSCME are banking on the fact that their agreements are valid.
"That's our opinion that this was done in the period where Judge Colas' ruling was in place, saying that parties have the ability to bargain, they have the ability to bargain over all of these issues and that's what we did," said McCulley.
MADISON (WKOW) -- With Wisconsin Act 10 being overturned by Dane County Judge Juan Colas, at least temporarily, the City of Madison and Dane County have both reached agreements to extend union contracts to employees represented by AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
But, executives at AFSCME, which represents thousands of city, county and non-teaching school district employees across the state, hope those extensions are the first of many.
In Milwaukee, AFSCME Local 48 Executive Director Rich Abelson says they have sent letters to the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and other local governments, demanding they return to the bargaining table.
Here in southcentral Wisconsin, no other negotiations are underway, and some local governmental agencies are not interested.
Administrators with the City of Fitchburg say they have no plans of negotiating new contracts with union employees, with the exception of Police and Fire.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have a full report on this story on 27 News at 5 and 6.
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