Today we met with the state for the first time under the Evers/Burrell team. This was also the first time that we have met since Tracy Fuller retired and I became the union President. I think this was the most productive meeting we have had since we started in May of 2016.
First things first. The ONLY money that the state has offered to date is 2/2. That offer breaks down to 2% June 2018 and 2% January 2019. That is the same offer that was given to non reps. We have asked for more and have pointed out to them on numerous occasions how far out of whack our compensation is compared to surrounding states and also in state. UW-MKE tops out their officers at $36.06. UWs-MKE achieved that rate due to recruitment and retention issues, much the same as what we face. Oh, but that’s Milwaukee Chad! Fair point, it is MKE. However, just to name a few, the cities of Madison, Waukesha, Green Bay, Eau Claire, and La Crosse are all in that area for pay or well above it. What we have asked for is the minimum to keep us competitive and it is more than reasonable. That's our stance, and now it’s their turn.
Second, there is movement on the language. The state had offered nothing on the Section 7’s until very recently, and we are optimistic with what they’ve brought to the table. That being said, I will not sacrifice language for a wage increase. To be clear, there are three things that are listed as mandatory subjects of collective bargaining: hours, wages, and conditions of employment. It would be foolish to accept a raise but sacrifice the language that provides the bedrock for the conditions of employment. I am not going to sell the younger folks out who ARE STILL progressing in pay from the scale that was earned by the previous CBA so that those of us at the top can get a few percent more in pay. I was sold out once by the union so the top could get a small raise. Now that I am up there in years, I WILL NOT do that to our younger members.
The ball is in their court. They need to wow us. They continue to bleed personnel and continue to fail at recruiting at the numbers that are necessary to graduate a full academy class. We meet again on April 15th and April 30th.