Although Act 10 has some grey areas in it, I think the district’s lawyer’s interpretation is correct.
The West Bend School District Board of Education has declined to meet with the West Bend Education Association, citing legal counsel.
The WBEA offered to meet with the Board to discuss staff concerns within the district, but was turned down Sept. 20.
“We’ve taken this position since 2012,” Board President Rick Parks said, adding the position taken is based on legal counsel.
In the state of Wisconsin, teachers’ unions can only meet with boards to negotiate base wages; they can, however, meet for reasons other than negotiations.
“The WBEA would like to talk with the Board about the inequities in the district’s compensation plan and how those inequalities are affecting the lives and families of our teachers,” teacher and WBEA President Tanya Lohr said.
The WBEA also wants to discuss an inherent lack of loyalty or “fidelity” in the district’s compensation plan along with “unreasonable and inequitable” workloads teachers experience in the district.
The end goal is to work with the Board to rework the compensation plan for teachers.
Parks said acting on complaints from the teachers could be seen as negotiating, adding “semantics are the dickens when it comes to the law.”
The Board is legally allowed to negotiate the base wage of the teaching staff with the WBEA, but workload and pay structure are not negotiable.