Mayor, Labor Leaders Work Together to Mitigate Impact of Draconian State Budget
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 10:46am
City labor leaders joined Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today to outline proposed changes to AFSCME's contracts in an effort to mitigate the impact of Scott Walker's state budget proposal and avoid major service cuts or layoffs.
"We came to the mayor with changes for our contract because we know that it is important to work together and negotiate to address the budget challenges we're facing," Jennifer McCulley, AFSCME Local 60 Staff Representative said. "We're glad the mayor is willing to do that and hope these provisions will mitigate the impact of the state budget on city services."
"In incredibly challenging circumstances brought on by Scott Walker, this is how we should be working together," Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. "As Scott Walker pushes draconian, divisive measures in his state budget, I'll continue to work together with our unions to solve our problems."
AFSCME leadership proposed concessions in exchange for a 15-month extension, ensuring that the city can continue to work together with the union through 2013. The agreement reduces the pay increase at the end of 2011 from 3% to 2% and requires a 50% contribution to retirement benefits starting in January 2012. It also adds language regarding the city's intent to work cooperatively together with unions to avoid layoffs. These provisions will save $2.8 million in the city's 2012 budget.
"I want to thank AFSCME for coming to me with these ideas. This is another example of how collective bargaining works for everyone's interest," Mayor Cieslewicz said. "By working together, we will keep people working, keep our city moving forward and we will come out of this challenge stronger."
"We are indebted to the ‘Wisconsin 14' Democratic state senators who bought us all the time to make this happen," said Council President Mark Clear. "Their courageous actions in delaying the bill have given us the opportunity to save taxpayer money and preserve jobs. This agreement is a testament to what reasonable people can accomplish when we pull together in the face of adversity."
- Rachel Strauch-Nelson, 608-266-4611