Janesville schools contract talks to resume Monday

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, June 6, 2013

— Representatives of Janesville public school teachers and school board did not immediately reach an agreement as they began a first attempt at contract bargaining under Act 10 on Wednesday.

The two sides exchanged proposals, negotiated about 90 minutes and agreed to continue at 4 p.m. Monday.

The two sides are trying to reach agreement on a one-year contract that begins July 1.

Union President Dave Parr and Superintendent Karen Schulte would not comment on the negotiations other than to say they would continue Monday.

Act 10 allows negotiations only for base wages. The district's opening offer was for no increase.

The Janesville Education Association's opening offer was a 2.07 percent increase, the maximum allowed by law. The 2.07 percent is based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation.

The union's offer does not mean each of the approximately 750 union members would see a 2.07 percent raise, Parr said.

Parr said the definition of base wages and how any increase is applied to individual workers is a complicated calculation, but in general, the union's offer would result in less than 2.07 percent for most if not all members.

Some would see no increase, Parr said.

"In a nutshell, nobody is getting (a) cost-of-living (increase)," Parr said.

Teachers' take-home pay in the coming year will take two other hits, because they will begin paying half of their pension-fund contribution in July, and they will see an increase in their share of their health-insurance premiums starting in September.

The contract would cover only the coming fiscal year, from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014. Act 10 does not allow for multi-year contracts.

The negotiations were a first for the teachers under the terms of Act 10, the 2011 law that abolished public employee unions' rights to bargain for benefits or working conditions.

The teachers had a contract in place when Act 10 was passed. The contract shielded teachers from Act 10's provisions, but it expires June 30.

Two other district union groups, representing secretaries, clerks and aides and custodial, maintenance and food-service workers, settled last month for a 1 percent increase.

The two groups, represented by Local 938 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, also had asked for 2.07 percent in their opening offer, and the district offered no increase.

Last updated: 7:56 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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