GOP Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Bargaining Over Health Insurance

Under a bill introduced recently by Republican lawmakers, public employees would be prohibited from bargaining over the selection of a health care coverage plan in certain circumstances. Authored by Rep. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwautosa), Assembly Bill 110 would also alter the law governing local public labor relations by allowing any employer to unilaterally change its employees’ heath care plan.

Efforts to control the ever-increasing costs of health care in Wisconsin should not come at the expense of the labor rights currently afforded to public employees. The WPPA has strongly opposed this legislation in the past, and will continue to do so in this current legislative session. WPPA members are encouraged to consult the WPPA website and magazine, the Wisconsin Police Journal, … Continue reading

Firefighters – but not police – deserve the same rights as other employees

MADISON – Firefighters – but not police officers – should have the same disciplinary options as other public employees, the Legislature’s budget committee decided in a hearing on May 30. In his budget bill, Governor Jim Doyle had recommended that unionized police officers and fire fighters outside Milwaukee get the option of taking disciplinary matters to arbitration. The Joint Finance Committee rejected that proposal and modified the governor’s plan to apply only to fire fighters.

A GOP motion to remove the entire provision from the budget failed 7-9.

“Police officers carry guns, so they deserve more scrutiny of their on-duty actions,” said Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Madison. “The worst an on-duty firefighter can do is hose you down,” Pocan … Continue reading

Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Military Service Credits Bill

MADISON – On May 23, 2007, the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology and Financial Institutions unanimously voted to approve Senate Bill 19. Under current law, employees participating in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) who began their public employment after serving in the military do not receive WRS credit for their military service if it occurred after 1974. SB 19 would eliminate the arbitrary 1974 limitation and credit military service that occurs at any time. This legislation is not retroactive, meaning that it would only apply to public employees who terminate their WRS covered employment after the bill becomes law.

SB 19 is the senate companion bill for Assembly Bill 43, which was approved by the Assembly Committee … Continue reading

Reps. Kind and Kagen Vote to Put More Cops on the Streets

House Restores Highly Successful COPS Program, Would Add Nearly 90 Officers in Western Wisconsin Alone

Washington, D.C. – Legislation supported by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen to put 50,000 more police officers on our nation’s streets passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. H.R. 1700, the COPS Improvements Act of 2007, passed with a bipartisan majority on a vote of 381-34.

The COPS hiring program has been one of the most successful law enforcement programs in the nation’s history. To date, the program has put nearly 120,000 more officers on the street nationwide, including more than 1,300 in Wisconsin alone. Funded at over $1 billion a year near the end of the Clinton Administration, the hiring … Continue reading