Urge MMSD to Collectively Bargain, Now! (Update — Victory #1)

Booker T. & the MGs – “Time is Tight” (click to listen or download)

Update:  The MMSD Board of Education will begin bargaining with the staff unions.  Victory #1, step #1.  The clock is ticking.

The Dane County Board approved new union contracts last week  (YEAH and thanks to the  Sups!);  other local government units can do the same, including MMSD.

The Board of Education will be considering ” Negotiations strategy concerning successor Collective Bargaining Agreements for MMSD Bargaining Units, pursuant to Wis. Stat. §§19.82(1) and 19.85(1)(e)” at a closed meeting 5:00 Monday.

If you support Collective Bargaining and want our school staff to continue to enjoy those rights and protections, YOU NEED to contact the Board before Monday.  The easiest way is to email board@madison.k12.wi.us.

Here is my letter:

Members of the Board of Education

I urge you to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the recent decision in MTI v. Walker to reengage in collective bargaining with the unions representing district staff as soon as possible, and to seek speedy conclusions to these negotiations prior to any ruling on the request for a stay.

I realize that negotiating and approving contracts with a short and uncertain timeline is far from ideal.  However, I believe that for all involved  — students, staff, administrators, the Board and the community — this would be preferable to the lengthy and difficult handbook process.

New contracts would give the district stability and avoid prolonging the inevitable conflicts involved in setting terms of employment (whether by contract or handbooks).  This past year and half has been a difficult one for the district, our community and public education in our state.  The year ahead holds many challenges, with a Superintendent search; continued work on achievement and achievement gaps; new mandates on standards, assessments, response to intervention and more; and familiar financial pressures.  With contracts settled, the administration, staff, Board and community will be better positioned to give due attention to these important matters and are more likely to reach the understandings that will help move things forward for the students.

Please make the effort to settle contracts now and lay the groundwork for success in the future.

Thank you


Thomas J. Mertz

MTI and AFSCME are also asking people to show up at the open 6:00 meeting, wearing Red for Public Ed (or AFSCME Green).

Thomas J. Mertz


Filed under Contracts, education, Local News, Scott Walker, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Urge MMSD to Collectively Bargain, Now! (Update — Victory #1)

  1. My email to the MMSD Board of Education:

    Dear MMSD Board of Education,

    On Thursday night, the Dane County Board led the way by voting on negotiated contracts for AFSCME county workers for the year 2015. Friday, the City Council followed suit and reached a tentative agreement with AFSCME Local 60. The City Council has also secured contracts for police and fire through 2014 or 2015. In these cases, the elected officials involved took action because it was the right thing to do for the city and the county. According to Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi, “We are showing yet again that in Dane County we get more done by sitting down and working with people. This agreement proves again you can protect both taxpayers and the people who go to work for them everyday and plow roads, care for kids, and keep our community great.”

    It is time for Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI) and the Board of Education to sit down at the bargaining table. Collective bargaining is a fair process that is best for our teachers, our students and our schools. Since February of 2011, our teachers have taken some painful hits to their paycheck, their voice in the workplace and their professional dignity. With Judge Colas’ ruling, the door is opened up that can set some of this straight. Negotiating was always the right path, both before and after Act 10. It is through negotiation that teachers as a group have a voice in the workplace and in the education of their students. There has always been a level of mutual compromise in these negotiations, which is a critical component of a truly collaborative system.

    In April of 2012, there an advisory referendum on the ballot read, “Should all Wisconsin workers have the right to seek safe working conditions and fair pay through collective bargaining?” In Madison the response was overwhelming; 76% of Madison voters voted “yes.” As elected officials, I urge you to listen to the people of Madison and engage in bargaining. Settle contracts for our school employees early on and engage in a process that is both familiar and successful. MTI and the BOE have a long history of working together to do what is best for our schools. Let’s move forward and continue that tradition.

    Karen Vieth
    Teacher, Sennett Middle School

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