Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Act 10

Act 10 Has Saved Taxpayers $13.9 Billion


The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds tracks pension fund contributions. Before 2011, the vast majority of government employees in Wisconsin did not contribute towards their pension. Since Act 10 was implemented, state, local, university, tech college, and school district government employees have contributed $9 billion to their own pensions.


That’s $9 billion in taxpayer savings over ten years –  just for the pension piece alone.


Tracking health insurance savings throughout the state is more complicated. There are thousands of local units of government and some Act 10 savings at the local level go unnoticed and unpublicized. Act 10 permanently changed the trajectory of those local healthcare costs. Local governments like the City and County of Milwaukee include that information in their annual budgets – and the savings continue to grow exponentially.


Using the same methodology that has always been used and the same public data sources, our new analysis shows that local governments have saved $2.4 billion, the state and university system have saved $1.2 billion, and school districts have saved $1.3 billion over the past nine years on health insurance.


That puts the total Act 10 taxpayer savings at $13.9 billion over nine years. $13.9 billion. Let that sink in for a second.

Act 10 Enabled Teacher Mobility

This is exactly one of the impacts that Act 10 was intended to have.

Though he said it was a difficult decision, he left Lodi for better pay — about $2,000 more in salary, plus better benefits — and he wanted to try working at a bigger school. Teacher salaries in Lodi “had taken a hit” after the Legislature passed Act 10 and weren’t going to get better any time soon, given budget constraints.

Irrespective of whether or not Act 10 hit Lodi’s budget (that has become a reflexive statement even though Wisconsin spends more than ever on government schools), the fact that it is so easy for this teacher to move to another district is also because of Act 10. By enabling a more mobile teacher labor force, Act 10 forces districts to compete for the best teachers. This is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. And you’ll notice, it isn’t always about money.

But a year later, he returned to Lodi for some of the same reasons he left: Monona Grove’s size — it has more than twice the enrollment that Lodi has — meant that he didn’t know most of the students even by the end of the year, and there were larger socio-economic disparities between them. He said he also had some differences in teaching philosophy from his colleagues there.

Act 10 Causing Fewer People to Become Teachers?

I love how the reporter just throws that in there:

The teaching industry has faced multiple obstacles with less applicants entering the field to fill open positions at school districts. Statewide the number of applicants completing a teacher prep institution has fallen 35% since 2010 and the nation has similar numbers, said Director of Teacher Education, Professional Development and Licensing David DeGuire, who works with the Department of Public Instruction. The University of Wisconsin System assigned a task force to examine the issue more closely, he said.

There are many reasons for the decrease, including a tight labor market, the passing of Act 10, the amount of workload pushed onto teachers and a change in how people respect and see the profession.

Try to reconcile the two phrases in bold. So if the entire nation is seeing a similar decline in people wanting to be teachers, how is Act 10 – which is only applicable in Wisconsin – a factor in that? Did the reporter read her own story?

The truth is rooted in the other causes. The booming labor market makes teaching less attractive. When unemployment is 10% or more, teaching is a great job with a very low risk of being fired. When unemployment is 4% or less, other career choices look more attractive.

Also, the push to use schools as social justice laboratories instead of centers of education is likely pushing teachers out. True educators want to do that – educate. They don’t want to be used to try to fix all of the social ills in society.

Federal Lawsuit Against Act 10 Thrown Out

Act 10. Still legal. Still right. Still working.

MADISON – A federal judge on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit seeking to overturn former Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law that sharply limited collective bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin.

The lawsuit over the law known as Act 10 was brought by two arms of the International Union of Operating Engineers after state and federal courts upheld the law in other cases. The union intends to file a new lawsuit, according to a motion filed by its attorneys.

Union officials filed the latest lawsuit in 2018, dropped it months later and revived it in May to name Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul as defendants.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman agreed to throw out the lawsuit after Kaul in July argued the court did not have jurisdiction because the case had previously been closed.

Attorneys for the union agreed with Kaul and didn’t object to the lawsuit’s dismissal, according to court records.

School Districts Fail to Use Act 10 to Control Budgets

The Wisconsin Department of Administration has done the public a massive service by releasing a detailed description of every Wisconsin School District’s health insurance plans. You can find it here.

The first thing that jumps out is that the health insurance plans that Wisconsin’s school districts give to their employees are still very generous. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want our teachers to have good health insurance, but many private employers offer good health insurance and their costs are lower.

The average yearly premium for a family plan in Wisconsin’s school districts is $20,062.44. That compares to an average yearly premium of $18,764 in the U.S. For some rough math… if 50% of the 108,820 Wisconsin public school employees have a family plan and paid the national average, it would save taxpayers over $70 million per year – and district employees would still be receiving good health insurance.

The second thing that jumps out is that school districts are not taking advantage of Act 10 to control costs. Act 10 decoupled benefits decisions from union negotiations and left them at the discretion of the governing body. In this case, the local school boards have the power to determine the health insurance plans offered and the amount that employees pay for their share.

Across all 422 Wisconsin School Districts, Employees still only pay an average of 11.7% of the cost of their health insurance premiums for a family plan and 11.5% for a single plan. This is far below the average for private or government employees. According to the BLS, private sector employees pay an average of 33% of their health insurance premiums. State and local government employees pay an average of 29%! So here in Wisconsin, public school employees are paying less than half what other state and local employees pay for health insurance despite local school boards having complete power to being their employees into the national mainstream.

Clearly, there is still plenty of money to waste in our schools.

A Closer Look at the West Bend School District

Of course, since I live in the West Bend School District and they are preparing to ask the tax payers for tens of millions of dollars in a referendum despite declining enrollment, I have to take a look at my own district.

In the West Bend School District, the annual premium for a family plan is well above the state average coming in at $21,864. That does not include the fact that the school district provides an on-site clinic that provides services at no cost to the employees and without any co pays.

While receiving a more expensive health insurance plan, West Bend School District employees pay far less than other districts. Employees pay 8.2% of the premium for a family plan and 13.3% for a single plan. Furthermore, employees can earn a premium differential. The report doesn’t say how employees qualify for the differential, but a premium differential is generally a discount for things like not smoking, participating in wellness activities, etc. If an employee qualifies for the entire differential, their percentage for a family plan drops to 2.7% of the total premium, or $49 per month.

Just to recap, for a family plan, the average American state or local government employee pays 29% of the premium, the average Wisconsin school district employee pays 11.7%, and an employee of the West Bend School District pays 8.2%.

If the West Bend School District merely adopted a health insurance plan that was near the national average and asked employees to pay for 29%, it would save taxpayers $8,393 – PER FAMILY POLICY PER YEAR.

I ask the taxpayers of West Bend to remember these numbers when the district comes around again claiming poverty and asking for more money. The West Bend School Board, despite their claims of conservative leadership, are failing to manage benefits costs even to national or state norms.

Less than Half of School Districts Have a Certified Union

Looks like teachers aren’t choosing the union.

Six years after Gov. Scott Walker and state Republicans made labor unions’ ability to retain members much more difficult, fewer than half of the state’s 422 school districts have certified unions.

In the latest certification election — held in November and required by Walker’s signature 2011 legislation known as Act 10 — staff and teachers in 199 school districts voted to remain in a bargaining unit, or 47 percent, according to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

What’s frustrating is that it is now clear that Wisconsin’s forced-unionization laws kept so many teachers in unions against their will for so many years. How much money was taken out of their pay over the years to support a union they didn’t want to be in? How many decisions were made on their behalf that they didn’t want? Now that they have a choice, we see how many teachers don’t want to be in a union.

Problems in Beloit

This is an interesting story by the Beloit Daily News. The Beloit School District is seeing the same thing as many other districts – terrible kids who disrupt classes – and the administration is apparently doing a poor job of handling it. Here’s on teacher’s story:

Another former BMHS teacher who also left to work in another district loves Beloit and misses its kids. This teacher said 99 percent of students are well behaved, staff is excellent and there are many great programs.

But the teacher said Beloit Memorial High School has a group of around 25 repeat offenders who frequently cause great disruption, preventing teachers from teaching and students from learning. The teacher said most districts have kids with similar issues, but Beloit has suffered from poor administrator response.

“There is a revolving door policy. You send them out, and 5-10 minutes later they are back, sometimes with a bag of chips and a smile on their face,” the teacher said.

Some students, the teacher said, try to get suspended or expelled, and the threat of action does nothing to deter their behavior.

This teacher called the town hall meeting a “joke” and “publicity stunt” because no meaningful action followed it. Although the teacher said the school board asked some good questions, there was no change in approach by administration.

The code of conduct is solid, the teacher said, but it is inconsistently applied and some administrators make deals with students.

You know one thing that’s interesting? Before Act 10, it was much more difficult for teachers to leave for another district without losing things like their seniority. Not only has Act 10 made it easier for teachers to go to another district when they feel unsafe or are dissatisfied, but the outflow of dissatisfied teachers will put pressure on the school district to get their act together. Whether or not the school board responds to that pressure is another story, but at least Act 10 has introduced some natural market forces that push our school to be better for everyone.

Jury Rules Against Retired Teachers

Good. This is an important case.

WEST BEND –  A lawyer for 90 retired Germantown teachers asked a jury Monday to award them more than $9 million in damages from their former employer, who the retirees say took their affordable long-term care insurance in a political power play after passage of Wisconsin’s Act 10 law.

The district’s attorney urged jurors to reject liability under all three of the plaintiffs’ theories. “They ignored it (a warning that the insurance plan could terminate) and now they want to blame the school district,” Kevin Pollard said.

The lawyers’ closing arguments came after a weeklong trial, but it took the jury just an afternoon to decide the district owed nothing to the retirees.

Basically, here’s the deal… nearly 20 years ago, the Germantown school district agreed to give the employees long-term care insurance. As part of that, employees who retired were allowed to continue to purchase the same insurance at the same rate as current employees. After Act 10 empowered the school board, they revised their benefits package and eliminated the long-term care insurance option, thus also eliminating it for retirees. The insurance company, WEA Trust, would allow the retirees to maintain their insurance if they paid all of the premiums up front – about $35k – but many of the retirees couldn’t afford it continue the coverage.

The retirees’ argument was essentially that once a benefit was granted, the school board and taxpayers were obligated to continue that benefit for all time. Obviously, if the retirees were successful in their argument, it would severely limit the ability of school boards to make adjustments to benefit packages over time to manage costs and expectations. Such a ruling would have also hurt future employees because it would have discouraged school boards from ever offering additional benefits. After all, would you want to offer a creative new benefit if you knew that it would obligate the taxpayers to pay that benefit for eternity? Also, if a benefit granted can never be rescinded, school boards would have a hard time replacing one benefit with another one that the employees want more.

Thankfully, the jury had some common sense.

White House Taking Lessons From Wisconsin


Walker said he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence during his Friday visit to the White House about his 2011 move to sharply limit collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin, known as Act 10.

The governor said he and Pence talked about “what we’ve done here in Wisconsin, how they may take bits and pieces of what we did with Act 10 and with civil service reform, and how they could apply that at the national level” for federal workers.

“It’s something that they’re interested in. The vice president has brought up before,” Walker said. “It’s certainly something we’re willing to offer our assistance on, particularly if it helps improve not just the nation, but in turn helps improve the ability to be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars here in Wisconsin.”

Another Act 10 Case Settled

Excellent. Hopefully other districts will follow Neenah’s lead.

NEENAH – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to review a case brought by Neenah teachers over a change in retirement benefits.

The court’s denial ends a process that has lasted nearly four years, the district said in a news release Friday.

After Act. 10 was passed, Neenah was prohibited from bargaining or contractually agreeing to any provisions other than base wages, according to a state Court of Appeals document.

“In response, Neenah drafted an employee policy manual, which established policies and procedures to address benefits and the terms and conditions of employment that had previously been addressed” in the collective bargaining agreement, the document states. Neenah then voted to change the retirement benefit plans, which applied to those retiring on or after Oct. 2, 2012.

The new plan significantly reduced retirement benefits.

The teachers argued that the original retirement plan was promised to teachers in return for lower salaries and benefits.

A Winnebago County Circuit Judge dismissed the case, a decision the state Court of Appeals for the Second District upheld, though on different grounds.

Managing Under Act 10

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is running a pretty good series about the impact of Act 10 now that we’re 5 years into it. It points out some of the consequences that some people argue are positive and some argue are negative. For example, since Act 10 teacher turnover has increased as districts compete for the better teachers and/or teachers who teach a specialized subject. Some argue this is bad because it creates more turmoil in the district that loses good teachers and that poorer districts struggle to attract those good teachers. I argue it is a good thing for a freer marketplace for teacher labor to exists because a freer marketplace allocates scarce resources in the most efficient and equitable manner possible. And as the marketplace drives up wages for needed skillsets, it will attract more teachers into that field.

Another example is how 40% of districts have implemented some form of merit pay for teachers. Some perceive that as a bad thing because they believe that merit pay is untenable in an education setting. I think it is a good thing because compensation is the best way to drive the behavior you want. My only lament is that the other 60% of school districts have not moved forward on some form of merit pay.

In any case, many folks, including myself, are frustrated that school administrators have failed to take more advantage of the power given to them in Act 10 to improve outcomes for students and control costs. It occurred to me today… I don’t think many of them know how to manage in this environment.

Before Act 10, school administrators did not really control 80%-85% of their budgets because they were dictated by the union contracts. They never had to create and actively manage compensation plans, incentive plans, performance, recruiting, retention, staffing, etc. At least, their range of decision-making was severely limited. For some of these school administrators, they have been working in schools for 20+ years and truly are just ignorant of how managers function in the private sector. They aren’t more actively using the tools of Act 10 because they flat out don’t know how.

I would encourage school boards to push their administrators to get management training or exposure from the private sector. It also wouldn’t hurt to hire a few administrators who haven’t spent their entire careers in education. Good leadership and management skills transcend specific industries. Yes, there will be a learning curve, but there’s already a learning curve for lifelong educators in this new environment.

Just Scratching the Surface

Act 10 allowed local governments a lot more flexibility to manage their affairs in order to control costs while providing services. Many of us have been saying for years that almost none of our local governments have been using the full power of Act 10. Some have been better than others, but I can’t think of one that is doing everything it can.

Here is one example. The West Bend School District has actually been better than most school districts at using Act 10. They have done things like add a wellness clinic to provide convenient care to their employees and lower costs and implemented merit pay for employees. But I notice this in the West Bend Daily News:

A family plan now has an added cost of $20 a month. A single plan is at $5.

“Our families have never contributed to the dental plan,” Elliehausen said.

Really? Nothing? When something is free, people lack the incentive to use it judiciously. And it is virtually universal in the private sector that employees contribute to their dental plan. This is a small step to normalize compensation plans that Act 10 allows the School Board to unilaterally make, but the West Bend School District has failed to implement it until now.

Act 10’s Effect on the Teacher Workforce

Interesting findings from The Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty.

Some of the findings include:

  1. When compared to neighboring states, Act 10 had no significant impact on the number of students per school teacher.  Put another way, changes in classroom size did not differ significantly from changes in neighboring states.
  1. When compared to surrounding states, we did not find any significant effect by Act 10 on school district spending on teacher gross salaries (incl. bonuses, some pay for performance, and stipends).  We did find an effect by Act 10 on base salaries.  We suspect that this reflects the new marketplace for teachers post-Act 10 where districts are moving towards pay-for-performance, bonuses, and stipends, as described in a previous WILL study.
  1. There was little difference in the change in average teacher experience before and after Act 10.
  1. There was little difference in the change in racial makeup of the teaching workforce before and after Act 10.
  1. Wisconsin’s teacher decline began well before the implementation of Act 10.

‘stallis School District Shortchanges Teachers

Well, this stinks.

West Allis-West Milwaukee, which has been digging itself out of a $14 million deficit over the past year, alerted teachers in an email last week that those who normally take their summer pay in a lump sum in June would receive just a fourth of their expected paychecks Thursday, with the balance to come a week later.

What’s more interesting than the actual impact is the reason for it. Yes, it stinks that the teachers will not receive their pay as scheduled, but they will get it all a week later. It’s an inconvenience, but it’s not the end of the world.

Also, the way the school district handled it looks pretty poor.

She said many teachers were blindsided by the news, which was buried in a “budget update” emailed to district employees June 9, the last day of school.

That’s poor management. Whenever something changes that impacts people’s compensation, the organization has a responsibility to REALLY emphasize it so that people can make arrangements. Burying it in a budget update, assuming that’s an accurate reflection of the communications, is bad form.

The Union immediately jumped to blaming this on Act 10:

Steve Cupery, the Wisconsin Education Association Council representative for West Allis-West Milwaukee teachers, said the district has agreed to work with individual teachers who can demonstrate a hardship.

But he blasted the delay as a byproduct of Act 10, the 2011 state law that eroded the bargaining rights of public employee unions.

“It’s just one more example of the consequences of Act 10, how it hurts people and will dissuade people from going into the profession,” Cupery said.

But the truth is that the district has been horribly mismanaged for years and the bills for that mismanagement are coming due.

West Allis-West Milwaukee’s issues appear to stem from a series of costly financial decisions made under then-Superintendent Kurt Wachholz, who retired unexpectedly in the summer of 2014. Among them, according to Chromy: the purchase and renovation of a new building, cost overruns on staffing and benefits, and several facilities projects.

The largest piece of that — about $5 million — was for a debt payment related to a yearslong lawsuit over a risky investment scheme that cost West Allis-West Milwaukee and four other districts a total of $200 million a decade ago, Chromy said.

“Since the verdict had come, there was some anticipation by our legal team that that payment would come in … to offset that cost,” but that didn’t happen, Chromy said.

According to an audit released late last year, the district had overspent its 2013-’14 and 2014-’15 budgets by a total of $14 million, wiping out its entire reserves.

A good description of the financial decisions that led to that huge debt payment can be found in the NY Times, but the gist is this: in 2005, several school districts, including West Allis, needed money to fund their huge pension obligations to retirees. In order to make money, they borrowed money to invest in some risky investments. The thought was that the money received from the investments would be enough to pay back the debt with interest and still have more money left over. It would be like you getting a cash advance on your credit card to buy Powerball tickets with the hope that your winnings from the Powerball would be enough to pay back the credit card company and leave you with a profit.

The districts’ luck was bad and the investments went belly up, leaving the districts with a big loan to pay back for which they had no alternate source of income to fund the payments. Thus, they are having to take money out of the operating budget, which is supposed to be used for things like paying teachers, and use the money to pay off debt so that the district doesn’t default, thus destroying their ability to borrow in the future. The district won a lawsuit over this, but the award has not been paid yet.

On top of that bad decision, the district went on a building spree and racked up a myriad of other bad decisions.

The teachers are getting the short end of the stick here, but it has nothing to do with Act 10 or a lack of funding. It has everything to do with extremely poor management by an incompetent school board and administration.

Teachers Unions Focus on Community

Here’s another great byproduct of Act 10.

But the influence of unions has diminished in Madison. WEAC spent about $2.3 million on lobbying in the two legislative sessions leading up to the passage of Act 10. But by 2013-14 the union spent just $175,540, and so far has spent $93,481 in 2015-16.

Union leaders say they instead are focusing on local communities. The associations also invest in training and other support services for members.

“We offer professional development for things like license renewal, classroom management or teacher effectiveness,” said Cathey, who also is a Wisconsin representative on the National Education Association’s board and was in Washington, D.C., last week. “In the past it was more about politics, but now it’s more community oriented.We want to talk about our schools and share who we are with the community.”

Despite drops in membership numbers, Cathey said GBEA is more active than before Act 10.

For a lot of union members, they are getting better services from their unions. The unions have to provide better services for their members in order to justify their existence.

Act 10 Saved Wisconsinites Billions

Wow. That’s a lot of cash.

Five years ago, Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature started their odyssey that resulted in the signing of Act 10, a milestone law that has saved Wisconsin taxpayers $5.24 billion, according to a new analysis by the MacIver Institute.

The analysis found that Wisconsin saved $3.36 billion by requiring government employees contribute a reasonable amount to their own retirement. The analysis also estimates local units of governments saved an additional $404.8 million total by taking common sense steps like opening their employees’ health insurance to competitive bidding. Milwaukee Public Schools saved $1.3 billion in long-term pension liabilities, and Neenah saved $97 million in long-term pension liabilities in addition to other savings.

These taxpayer savings are only possible thanks to Act 10.

Act 10 Leading to More Competitive Pay for Teachers


Whereas nearly all teachers were once paid based on experience and education level, some Wisconsin school districts are experimenting with new ways to pay teachers.

In the Oregon School District, for example, technology education teachers receive $10,000 in supplemental pay annually for four years and a $2,500 annual retention bonus after that to remain in the district for four years.

School boards are also developing new compensation plans that take teachers’ evaluations or leadership qualities into consideration when figuring raises. Those new pay plans can cost a district more in salaries in some cases.

It’s great that school districts have the latitude to adjust their compensation plans to their needs instead of having a blanket tiered structure that doesn’t reflect the reality of the labor market.

But of course, here is the real reason that there was so much consternation over Act 10.

Meanwhile, the influence of teachers at the state Capitol has diminished. The state’s largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, spent $2.5 million and $2.3 million in the two legislative sessions leading up to the passage of Act 10. But by 2013-14 the union spent just $175,540, and so far has spent $93,481 in 2015-16.

Follow the money… so teachers with skills that school districts need are benefiting from the flexibility afforded in Act 10, but the union (read: special interest group) doesn’t have as much money to lobby. Why are we supposed to be upset?


Act 10 – Five Years Later

MacIver Institute is kicking off a month of celebration. I don’t think Healy is overstating just how important Act 10 was for Wisconsin.

“Act 10 has proven to be one of the most important public policy ideas ever introduced in Wisconsin and clearly the most successful,” said Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute. “Big labor and its special-interest allies all tried to scare the Wisconsin public, claiming the sky would fall if Act 10 passed. They were wrong, and Wisconsinites deserve special credit for standing up to the labor bosses and seeing through their lies.”

“Wisconsin taxpayers owe Governor Walker and the legislators who voted for Act 10 a special debt of gratitude for all the abuse they took,” Healy continued. “If Governor Walker and the Republican legislators had not stood their ground, if they had not blocked out the threats and verbal abuse from the professional protesters, the Wisconsin taxpayer would be billions of dollars worse off today – billions of dollars!”

“Now, thanks to Act 10, government employees in Wisconsin contribute a modest amount towards their health insurance and their retirement,” Healy said. “School districts can competitively bid out their health insurance business, personnel decisions are based on merit instead of seniority, and teachers with expertise in sought-after fields are seeing a greater demand for their services and their salaries are on the rise.”

“That’s why we’re celebrating February 11 – March 11 as ‘Wisconsin Taxpayer Appreciation Month.’ That time of turmoil yielded a long period of budgetary calm that Wisconsinites will enjoy for as long as they continue to elect fiscally responsible leaders,” Healy said.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Stemming from Act 10

It is good to some common sense in the courts. Employers, including school districts after Act 10, are entitled to modify benefits. The notion that once a benefit is given that it must be maintained for all eternity is the kind of delusional thinking that only seems to make sense in a union hall.

 Six Neenah teachers will appeal after a Winnebago County Judge dismissed their case against the Neenah Joint School District last week.


The school district changed its retirement benefits after Act 10 to avoid more than $100 million in costs over the next 22 years. The decision reduced annual employee stipends and health insurance coverage from a possible $300,000 per employee to $99,000 or less per person.

The school board is pleased with Key’s decision, board president Scott Thompson said in a statement.

“Tough choices don’t make everyone happy, but it would be impossible to operate the district if we got sued every time someone disagreed with our decisions,” he said. “We modified the retirement plan to allow the district to continue a healthy financial state while maintaining an early retirement plan — in addition to the state mandated retirement benefits — for our teachers.”

Also, notice the numbers in the health insurance coverage. Here’s a better explanation about what they changed:

The district has long offered an early retirement plan, separate from the state’s pension fund. Benefits could total $300,000 or more for each employee.

According to the district, the plan cost taxpayers almost $5 million annually. It also meant the district had a more than $184 million unfunded liability.

Back in October, the school board changed the lucrative plan for qualified employees. The new plan got rid of yearly stipends and health insurance.

Instead, teachers were offered payments of $99,000 or less. That decreased the district’s liability to just more than $100 million.

What the teachers are suing over is a change in their lavish secondary retirement plan on top of their already generous state pension plan.

Whenever I look at the details of how out of control some of these local units of government were (and still are), I am filled with another wave of gratitude for Act 10.

Dane County’s Gift to Union

Idiots. The Dane County supervisors have intentionally tied their own hands and limited their ability to manage the county.

As their years-long holdout against Wisconsin’s 2011 collective bargaining law ends this month, thousands of public-sector workers in Dane County will lose union protections. But some significant and unusual non-union rights will replace them.

In consultation with employee union members, the county board has adopted rules that greatly limit the authority it could have claimed in deciding disciplinary matters and employee disputes over pay, benefits and working conditions.

Instead of being able to decide those things unilaterally as Act 10 allows, the county passed an ordinance and employee handbook that allows employees to bring in impartial arbitrators whose awards can be rejected by the county board only in limited circumstances.

County and union officials say the rules are meant to re-create, to the extent legally possible, the union rights taken away by the controversial state law that banned collective bargaining and payroll dues collections for most public employees.



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