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Feb 21 2011

Top 10 Things You Should Know about Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill

Scott Walker’s budget repair bill (the full text of which is available online as a PDF) aims to eliminate collective bargaining rights in the State of Wisconsin. The following provisions, when considered together, should send a chill down every worker’s spine. As Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now said, “If this was happening in another country, we’d call it a Banana Republic.” (source)

  1. The proposed bill will cap any wage increases available to public employees at no more than the rate of inflation.
  2. The proposed bill will require employees to pay at least 12% of their monthly health insurance premiums, doubling what the average public employee pays now.
  3. The proposed bill will require employees to make 50% of their monthly pension contribution—this will be about 5.8% of an employee’s salary in 2011.
  4. The increased insurance and pension contributions required of employees will reduce public employee take-home pay by over 8%.
  5. The proposed bill allows public employee unions to bargain only about wages. All other subjects that traditionally have been covered by a collective bargaining agreement, such as insurance benefits, vacation and sick leave, procedures for discipline, decisions on whether to subcontract work, can no longer be discussed at the table and incorporated into a collective bargaining agreement.
  6. The proposed bill will allow an employer to discipline and fire employees without cause.
  7. The proposed bill cuts state funding to school districts and municipalities, which may force these employers to layoff employees. Because the proposed bill also eliminates seniority protection and layoff clauses from collective bargaining agreements, senior employees who earn higher wages could be targeted for layoffs.
  8. The proposed bill will only allow a collective bargaining agreement to last for one year, and it requires unions representing public employees in the State of Wisconsin to take a vote every year to maintain their status as unions.
  9. The proposed bill weakens union organizations by no longer allowing dues to be deducted from employee paychecks and by allowing employees to opt out of dues payments all together.
  10. Under the proposed bill, if Governor Walker declares a state of emergency (like he might do if this legislation creates any unrest among public employees), any employee who participates in any work action can be fired.