Milwaukee teachers union asking School Board to negotiate new contracts

Milwaukee teachers union asking School Board to negotiate new contracts

Citing the decision of a Dane County judge who struck down portions of a state law prohibiting most collective bargaining for public employees, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association is asking the School Board to negotiate new contracts with its members.

To press for action, the MTEA rallied supporters to wear red, make signs and attend the School Boards meeting en masse Thursday night.

The MTEA says a oneyear contract with teachers, education assistants, substitutes and accountants could help keep qualified teachers in the classroom and help solve the districts impending teacher shortage. It would also maintain the salary structure of pay based on earned degrees and years of teaching experience for teachers.

Milwaukees teachers have been shielded from the effects of Act 10, a state law enacted in 2011 that dramatically limits collective bargaining for most public workers and dictates higher employee contributions to benefits, because of a fouryear bargaining agreement that does not end until June 30.

Teachers agreed to benefit concessions in that contract.

In districts operating under Act 10, teachers no longer have collective bargaining agreements. Instead, wages, work rules and benefits are spelled out in employee handbooks largely determined by school boards. Thats why Judge Juan Colas decision is important to many unions they see it as allowing them to engage in bargaining.

But the decision comes in the early stages of the larger appeals process, and the three judges or the Wisconsin Supreme Court could later restore all elements of Act 10.

MPS spokesman Tony Tagliavia said the districts attorneys are reviewing MTEAs request.

School Board member Meagan Holman said in an interview Thursday that the board has not yet started discussing handbooks for teachers and that members might not take up that item until May.