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Governor Vetoes Attacks on Collective Bargaining, Job Training

A group of WEAC members and staff stand behind Governor Doyle as he vetoes three bills that would have harmed public education. They are (left to right) WEAC Executive Director Michael A. Butera; WEAC government relations program specialist Michael Walsh; Elaine Hoffer from the Middleton Education Staff Association; Marge Rivard from the Appleton Education Assistants Association; WEAC Secretary-Treasurer Mary Bell; Leigh Barker, executive director of the United Technical College Council; WEAC negotiations specialist Greg Spring; WEAC legislative coordinator Bob Burke; WEAC government relations program specialist Diane Craney; and WEAC President Stan Johnson.

Governor Jim Doyle Monday (April 12, 2004) vetoed three bills that would have harmed public education.

The bills were:

  • AB 598, which would have allowed municipal employers, including school districts, to privatize services without input from employees.
  • SB 384 and SB 451, which would have taken funds away from the Wisconsin Development Fund and allowed Wisconsin Technical College System districts to issue revenue bonds to provide services and facilities to businesses for another program, the Wisconsin Advantage Jobs Training Program.

WEAC President Stan Johnson said all three measures amounted to "a blatant partisan move to insult public employees" and applauded Doyle for vetoing them.

"AB 598 was a direct attack on public employees and their right to provide input on decisions that affect their working lives and great schools," Johnson said. "Making subcontracting services a permissive – rather than mandatory - subject of bargaining ignored the fact that the best way to keep a professional, well-trained school staff prepared to help children reach their full potential is to include staff in decision-making. Collective bargaining has proven to be the best way for staff to share expertise in creating great schools for every child."

Johnson said AB 598 was apparently based on two misconceptions: that collective bargaining is bad and privatization is good.

"Through collective bargaining, workers have won decent wages and benefits that translate into strong communities," he said. "Subcontracting has not proven to save taxpayers money; these proposed changes in collective bargaining would only drive the best and brightest away from the education profession and harm our great schools

"Subcontracting undermines the job security of long-term employees, allows employers to undercut negotiated pay and benefits, damages the collective bargaining process by allowing employers to replace workers whom they don't want to pay, and abdicates the employer's responsibility to screen and directly supervise the employees who work with our children," Johnson said.

Doyle said he vetoed AB 598 because it is meanspirited and "undermines the stability of labor relations and threatens the great quality of life we enjoy here in Wisconsin."

Johnson said SB 384 and SB 451 offered the false promise of real job training opportunities to workers. "This amounted to a shell game," Johnson said. "It makes no sense to take funds from one program and put them in another."

Doyle said SB 384 and SB 451 fall "far short of what is needed" to invest in job training.

"Instead of providing new resources for job training, they simply shift money from one pot to another, and pit job training against other worthy economic development programs. We need to get serious about investing in our workforce. So I am sending these bills back to the Legislature and asking them to send me the legislation I asked for."

Posted April 14, 2004


At the Capitol News Archives