County Set to Approve Provisions to Continue Long Tradition of Partnering With Workers in Face of Collective Bargaining Changes
September 12, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858; Karin Peterson Thurlow, Office of the Dane County Board (608) 266-5758
Faced with legal restrictions to collective bargaining with its employees, Dane County is expected to approve legislation tonight that will preserve the county’s long tradition of partnering with its workforce, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and officials from the Dane County Board announced today.
Two pieces of legislation are scheduled for a vote at Thursday’s meeting of the Dane County Board that will maintain open and fair communication between the county and its employees.
Dane County is one of the few units of government that maintained a union workforce following the restrictions of Act 10. The contracts that the county has negotiated with its employees will expire in December of 2015, necessitating the creation of the new provisions.
“The county is committed to continuing the long history of respectful communication and partnership we’ve had with our employees,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We honor and appreciate the hard work and commitment that our workforce gives to Dane County and its residents every day.”
“I’m proud that Dane County was able to rise above extremely difficult circumstances to treat its hard working employees with the respect they deserve,” said Dane County Board Chair John Hendrick. “We are the first county to approach the issue this way, and I hope other counties and municipalities can learn from us that the end of collective bargaining doesn’t have to mean the end of respect for workers or the end of working together.”
"We appreciate Dane County's longstanding commitment working with its unions. We've been here since 1936, before there was any kind of bargaining law. And we will be here long after Act 10,” said Kate Gravel, President of AFSCME Local 2634. “We believe our county will be a better place for years to come because its leaders are taking pro-active steps to preserve this relationship.”
The measures expected to be approved include a comprehensive amendment to the Civil Service ordinance, and a resolution that would approve the county’s first Employee Benefit Handbook.
Collective bargaining is prohibited under Act 10. The Civil Service ordinance amendment eliminates outdated provisions and creates an efficient process to review, discuss, and approve terms and conditions of employment to the extent allowed by the state law.
Dane County’s Employee Benefit Handbook (EBH) is intended to replace the terms and conditions of employment that are currently contained in the county’s collective bargaining agreements to the extent allowed by Act 10.
“In Dane County, we are committed to the welfare of all workers and that starts with our own employees,” said Supervisor Leland Pan. “This is a huge step toward maintaining the positive working relationship we’ve enjoyed for years, and serves as an example for other employers in the public and private sector.”
After passage by the Dane County Board and approval by the Dane County Executive, the amendment to the Civil Service ordinance would go into immediate effect and the EBH would go into effect once existing employee contracts have expired and the provisions of Act 10 fully apply to the county workforce.
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