Janesville33.2°

Police clerks nix union

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Mike DuPre'
June 7, 2008
— The Janesville Police Department’s 12 civilian records clerks have voted to decertify their union.

The full- and part-time workers were represented as a unit of AFSCME Council 40, but in January, part-time employee Renee Glissendorf filed a petition with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission requesting decertification.


Glissendorf declined to comment on her reasons.


A 5-5 vote with two votes uncounted approved the decertification, said Robin Butson, former chief steward of the Law Enforcement Civilians local.


The civilian employees have become hourly administrative employees, and their pay will be about the same with some of the more senior clerks getting a raise, said Jay Winzenz, the city’s director of administrative service.


As union-represented employees, clerks paid monthly union dues amounting to two hours of wages, Butson said.


Butson said she opposed eliminating the union because of the job protection it provided.


“Without a union, you’re an ‘at-will employee,’ meaning you can be fired, suspended or disciplined without notice or justification,” Butson said. “If the department budget gets tight, non-union employees are the first place to look to cut costs.”


The clerks type and file officers’ reports, help people who come to the department and perform other support duties. They take complaint calls over the phone and regularly deal with people who are victims or witnesses of crimes, Butson said.


They work 24/7.


Dealing with victims and witnesses requires special training, she said, and people so trained should be represented and protected by a union.


The highest-paid clerk earns $38,797 a year, Winzenz said.


While $38,719 is nominally the highest pay in the category into which clerks are being placed, that category has a “merited maximum” of $39,881, Winzenz said.


“So records clerks with at least 10 years of service could receive that depending on their performance,” he said. “Nobody’s pay will be reduced.”


In addition, as administrative employees, the clerks will get one more paid holiday a year. In addition to annual cost-of-living raises, they will receive yearly performance reviews that could boost their pay, Winzenz said.


As union employees, their raises came strictly through cost-of-living and longevity increases, he said.


Shift premiums—$14 per pay period for second shift, $25 for third shift—will remain the same, Winzenz said.



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