By Scott Bauer
Madison — Wisconsin state workers will not receive salary increases during the next two years under the first pay plan put forward by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration under a law that no longer requires the state to negotiate wages with unions.
Terms of the pay plan were outlined in a letter from the Office of State Employment Relations delivered to legislative leaders Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press.
State workers have not had a raise since 2009. Additionally, starting this year under the same law that took away their collective bargaining rights, they were required to pay more for their health insurance and pension costs.
Marty Beil, executive director of the 23,000-member Wisconsin State Employees Union, said he wasn’t surprised the plan included no raises for each of the next two years.
“We were of the mindset that it was a given they were going to come up with zero and zero,” Beil said.
Beil had not seen the pay plan, but based on highlights included in the letter sent to legislative leaders, he expressed concern that many of the protections for workers negotiated and put into union contracts during the past 50 years were being removed. Beil said the union’s attorney was going to review the plan to see whether a lawsuit is warranted.
“There’s a lot of unknowns here,” Beil said.
In an overview of the plan provided to lawmakers, Walker’s administration said most provisions related to pay and benefits such as sick leave and vacation time remained unchanged. Also, most of the changes equally would apply to all employees, it said.
Lawmakers on the Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Employment Relations, were briefed on the plan Tuesday morning. One committee member, Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, said he wanted to review the plan and “see what we can move forward on.”