Tosa ratifies union contracts despite vocal public opposition

April 19, 2011

The Wauwatosa Common Council tonight ratified contracts with three employee unions - dispatchers, clerks and public works - by a vote of 8-7 after more than four hours of debate. More than 250 people packed City Hall for the special meeting.

In favor of ratifying the contracts: Aldermen Linda Nikcevich, Kathleen Causier, Dennis McBride, Tim Hanson, Bobby Pantuso, Jeff Roznowski, Craig Wilson and Jason Wilke.

Opposed: Aldermen Peter Donegan, Brian Ewerdt, Jacqueline Jay, Eric Meaux, Michael Walsh, Cheryl Berdan and Don Birschel.

Jill Organ was not present.

The majority of the people who spoke tonight were opposed to ratifying the contracts.

But the majority of aldermen said approving the contracts gives the city definite numbers to work with for the next two years. If the state changes collective bargaining or other relevant factors, changes will take effect after the contracts expire at the end of 2012.

Included in the contract are retirement contributions of 5.8 percent of wages, higher health insurance premium contributions by employees of 10 percent (20 percent if they don't take part in an employee wellness program), a wage freeze for 2011 and a wage increase of 1.5 percent for 2012.

In March, the Employee Relations Committee recommended denial of the contracts because a large number of residents showed up then to oppose the contracts. The Common Council that same night voted against the contracts.

Five aldermen signed a petition to bring the matter back for a revote, based on the fact that the state budget repair bill is being held up in the court system, leaving municipalities with a great deal of uncertainty about the future.



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