Mertzig proposes extending city employee contractsExtended contracts would take precedence over Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget repair bill until those contracts expire.
By: Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio
A Superior city council member wants to extend city employee contracts by two years to delay the effects of a proposed state budget repair bill that would limit collective bargaining rights.
City Councilor Greg Mertzig is sponsoring the move to extend the contracts of the police, fire, public works and clerical-technical unions. The extension would keep the terms of the contract at status quo. Mertzig says it’s the right thing to do.
“The unions and the working people in the public sector understand that there’s going to need to be concessions,” he said. “The part that I want to preserve is the human part of it, the worker rights part of it, the being fair to the people who plow our streets and put out our fires and keep our families safe.”
He says this will not cost the city any more money but will take precedence over Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget repair bill, which would all but eliminate collective bargaining. Employee contracts would take precedence over state law until those contracts expire.
Clerks-Technical Workers Local 235 Union Representative Ed Lambert is happy about the proposal, but Superior Firefighter and International Association of Firefighters Field Representative Steve Panger is not.
“This is about collective bargaining and we’re really not interested in extending these contracts beyond the two years and locking the taxpayers into something when we don’t know what’s going to happen. Nobody knows what’s going to happen with Gov. Walker’s plan. This is only the first part of it. We do want to keep our bargaining rights.”
The firefighter contract is set to expire at the end of the year.
The City Council will meet Tuesday.