Live Webcast of Board of Regents Mtg - Dec, 6, 2012

Below is an announcement about a live webcast of the Board of Regents meeting this weekend to discuss the recommendations related to the UW personnel systems redesign (UW-Madison and UW-everything else. 

The Board of Regents meeting will be webcast this week from UW-Madison. Live audio and video streaming is scheduled at these times:
 

  • Thursday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m.-12 noon
  • Friday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m.-12 noon
    (Times are approximate.)

The full Board agenda and all supporting materials are available online in PDF format.

Troubleshooting Tips:  If you do not see the most current date on the media streaming webpage, try doing a Reload or Refresh of your web browser.

Follow the Meeting Online: A link to the webcast will be on the UW System homepage, www.wisconsin.edu. You can also receive occasional updates from the meeting on Twitter by following @uwsystem or using the hashtag #uwregents.

Act 10 Challenges

 There are 3 lawsuits regarding Act 10 which gutted collective bargaining rights for most public employees.  Below is a summary which is partially based on a Sept. 17, 2012 article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

1.  Seven public unions, including AFT-W, AFSCME and WEAC vs. Walker – Judge Conley

Filed in federal court in June 2011
Organizations that filed the lawsuit include councils of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, and the Service Employees International Union-Health Care Wisconsin. 
Alleged violation of constitution’s equal protection clause by exempting firefighters and police officers.
U.S. District Judge William Conley overturned parts of ACT 10 including the requirement for some unions to hold certification elections every year and the prohibition against paycheck dues deduction. 
Both sides appealed decision
The Walker administration asked for a stay until appeal decided, which was partially granted. No future recertification elections can be required but unions that didn’t seek recertification remain unrecognized. 
Oral arguments before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Sept. 24, 2012.  
2.  Madison Teachers Inc. and Public Employees Local 61 vs. Walker – Judge Colas
Filed in Dane County Circuit Court, Aug. 2011
Argued Act 10 unconstitutional because it capped union workers’ raises but not those of their nonunion counterparts. 
Judge Juan Colas ruled in favor of the unions on Sept. 14, 2012.   
Applies to municipal workers, not state workers.
Walker administration appealed and asked for a stay.
Judge Colas still considering whether to stay.
3.  AFL-CIO and AFSCME vs. Walker
Filed in federal court in July 2011
Alleges Act 10 violated that constitutional rights to freely assemble, free speech and equal protection of about 240 City of Madison workers and 2,440 Dane county workers/
Alleges Act 10 violates right of equal protection because restrictions don’t apply to some public safety workers’ unions. 
Walker administration filed a motion to dismiss. Awaiting a decision. 
more

Our Wisconsin Retirement System

La Follette Pension Study

The La Follette Workshop in Pubic Affairs prepared a study for the Wisconsin Legislative Council on alternatives for administering the Wisconsin Retirement System.  This report is NOT the report required by ACT 32 which is due to be released in June.   The La Follette report  was released in May of 2012.  For more details, click here

Defend The Wisconsin Retirement System

Retired WPEC member/activist Philip Anderson and retired WSP member/activist Roger Springman prepared an paper about defending the WRS retirement system. They are also part of a group of public retiree activists called POWRS. To read the paper, click here.

 Pension Tension, Capital Times.

"Now, emboldened by the recent recall victory in Wisconsin — and two votes the same night in California to sharply curb pensions for municipal employees — anti-government forces are taking aim at public-sector retirement systems nationwide."   Click Here to read more. 

Companies Pension Pleas (in the private sector). 

"Business groups are urging Congress to let employers put less money into their pension funds, saying that exceptionally low interest rates are forcing them to set aside too much cash. . . Labor unions are open to changing the contribution formula, but say that Congress shouldn't allow companies to underfund their pension plans, as has happened already in some cases."

Click Here to read more.

State's Pension System Doesn't Need Tinkering

A somewhat surprising editorial from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (6/28/12). 

Click Here to read more. 

more

Federal Court Strikes Down Parts of Act 10

A coalition of unions including AFT-Wisconsin filed a lawsuit over the controversial law last year.  The court ruled that the state cannot prevent public employee unions from collecting voluntary dues through payroll deductions and cannot require that they recertify annually.  To read a Wisconsin State Journal article about the decision and to read a copy of the decision itself,  Click Here

Update (5/2/12) -- The Walker administration appealed the court's decision regarding annual recertifications and paycheck deductions.  The administration also asked for a temporary stay of these decisions.  In a somewhat confusing ruling, the judge denied the request for a stay regarding payroll deductions and he also ruled that going forward, the State could NOT require annual recertifications.  However, he left in place the recertification elections that were already required (and held).  The next step is circuit court for the appeals which our attorney estimates could take 6 to 9 months.   

 

Vacant Positions

We periodically ask for a list of the vacant positions from DOA. The lists we get do NOT include the University of Wisconsin, the State Legislature or the Wisconsin Court System.   The list from June 2011 showed 4,890 vacant agency positions. 

According to the Wisconsin Budget Report, April 2011, "Wisconsin continues its trend of having fewer state and local employees per capita than the national average, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of state and local employees per capita in Wisconsin stayed about the same from 2008 to 2009, and remained well below the national average.   Click Here for more details.    

more

The Medicaid Fiscal Agent Contract (DHS)

In the summer of 2010, WPEC members at the Department of Health Services (DHS) reported concerns about the growing number of vendor employees working at DHS.  They were concerned that these vendor employees were being hired through the Medicaid Fiscal Agent contract with EDS-HP to perform duties that were not directly part of that contract. In response, WPEC requested a number of Medicaid contract documents.   A WPEC employee also filed a complaint with the LAB Fraud and Abuse Hotline that many of these hires seemed inappropriate because they were outside the scope of the contract and also noted that the  HP Account Executive overseeing these hires was a former DHS employee. 

LAB has not yet formally responded to the Hotline Complaint, but an LAB audit of the Medicaid program released in December of 2011 addressed some of the concerns.   They reported on the high number of vendor employees, the lack of involvement of purchasing professionals in these contract decisions, and the lack of oversight of this large new vendor workforce.  

To see copies of some of the documents, Click Here

 

more

Pages