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Lawmakers push for union contract transparency

State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Caledonia, sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of Administration Dan Schooff asking for greater transparency of the ongoing negotiations between the state and its employee unions. Both lawmakers want union contract documents to be posted online.

“In the interest of complete transparency, and to protect the taxpayers, we request that these documents be made available on the state web page for the public, the media, and lawmakers so they can be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed,” Vos and Darling wrote in the letter. “Current state employee union contracts housed at the DOA Web page comprise 2,012 pages. We would hate to see the current batch of contracts voted upon by the lame duck Legislature without having the opportunity for all Wisconsin taxpayers to review the details.”

Vos and Darling will be the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance when the new legislative session begins Jan. 3.

The agreements, negotiated by the Doyle administration and 19 collective bargaining units, must be ratified by the Joint Committee on Employment Relations and the Legislature.

On Monday, Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker urged Democrats not to convene a lame duck special session of the Legislature next month to approve public employee labor contracts.

Walker sent a letter to outgoing Democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly as well as the incoming Republican leaders asking them not to act because there needs to be “maximum flexibility” to deal with a two-year budget shortfall expected to amount to as much as $3.3 billion.

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