The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

Public Sector Contracts Rushed No Way? Process???

Scott Walker, Wisconsin, MATC, PUP

A snippet from MJS:


MATC fast-track contract raises instructor’s objection


Within hours of learning Gov. Scott Walker had proposed a bill slashing collective bargaining rights and benefits for public employees to help fix the state budget, leaders of the union representing teachers at Milwaukee Area Technical College called an emergency meeting to put a new three-year contract on the fast track.


It was very unusual for union leaders to call an emergency meeting of the executive board at 5 p.m. on a Friday to vote for a contract, said Benedum, who has been a member of the union’s executive board for 14 years.


Most faculty members aren’t on campus Fridays because they already have fulfilled their 32-hour workweek requirement, Benedum said.


The timing a few hours after Walker proposed his bill on Feb. 11 was no coincidence, he said.


Charlie Dee, the union’s executive vice president, suggested a reporter ask Benedum how he voted on the contract at the union meeting.


Benedum said his vote counted as a “yes” because he didn’t respond during a voice vote.


“It was a moment of weakness, which I later regretted,” Benedum said.  “I see people who are living on very little. I love MATC, and I love being there.  But when I looked at some of the comments about the contract we just got at MATC, those comments were scathing.  What we did isn’t right.”


According to Benedum, union leaders told the executive board that they weren’t in a strong bargaining position because they had to get things done in a hurry.


Rosen denied that and said the union should be applauded for saving MATC $11.6 million through concessions over three years.


“We went through a legitimate process,” Rosen said.  “There’s all kinds of schools settling contracts now, yet MATC is in the headlines.  There is no scandal here.


“The issue should be: Did MATC achieve the savings it needed to help balance the budget?  We gave $11.6 million to help the college.  I ask you, has any other union done that?  We should be praised instead of criticized,” Rosen said.


The technical college is facing a projected $23.4 million budget deficit for fiscal 2011-’12 as the economy increases demand for its services.


Property tax revenue makes up about 60% of its operating funds, a problem when the lagging real estate market is reducing property values.  MATC already sets its property tax rate at the maximum amount allowed, and other revenue options are limited.  Tuition represents about 17% of operating revenue; state funding is 14%.


Fringe benefits and salary increases made up about three-fourths of all spending growth between 2005 and 2009, according to the Public Policy Forum, a government watchdog group. Fringe benefits and salaries for 596 full-time teachers have reached a level that arguably puts MATC near the top of the nation among peer institutions, according to the forum.


College President Michael Burke said Friday he is concerned the Legislature could take “dollar for dollar” in state aid from MATC for not taking advantage of pension and health insurance savings that could be made available by the budget repair bill.


Walker’s legislation would require public workers to pay half of their pensions — typically 5.8% of pay for state workers — and at least 12% of their health care costs.  The college board’s attorney put the potential savings MATC left on the table at $7.1 million.


Source and Fully Story: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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