Parisi: Union contracts cannot be renewed

Decision means end of collective bargaining, automatic collection of union dues
Parisi: Union contracts cannot be renewed
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi

An email from Dane County Executive Joe Parisi to county employees Thursday said the county will not be able to honor 2015 and 2016 contracts negotiated with union employees.

In the email, Parisi said a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling this summer means the county must end collective bargaining and other changes included in the implementation of Act 10.

“We may not like or agree with the court’s decision, but Dane County cannot violate the law. While we considered continuing to enforce the contracts beyond the end of this year, the consequences of doing so would have brought costly legal action and significant financial penalties, creating new budget hardships in an environment already flush with outside challenges that threaten the quality of services Dane County government provides.”

The county approved an employee handbook in 2013 anticipating the possibility that the county could someday be subject to Act 10.

“We will ask the county board to adopt the wage increase and health care concession negotiated in good faith for 2016, in the employee handbook.” the email stated.

The change also means the county can no longer automatically collect union dues from employees. Parisi’s office said it’s working with union leadership to facilitate voluntary due contributions.

In the email, Parisi pointed out that he fought against Act 10 and was part of a 62-hour filibuster of the controversial bill supporters said was aimed at balancing the state budget.

“While the governor and legislature took away our right to collectively bargain with our workers, through our new employee handbook, we will continue to work with them in a spirit of cooperation and respect,” Parisi said in a statement.