The Waukesha School District is prepared to offer its teachers a 0.5 percent wage increase for the 2011-12 school year, but the union is not yet prepared to give a wage proposal as it moves forward with negotiations.
The wage increases, if accepted by the union, would be paid to the teachers retroactively. After the 2011-12 contract is settled, school officials can begin work on the 2012-13 teaching contracts.
The settling of the past school year’s contracts were delayed because of changes in the state’s Act 10 collective bargaining law that limits public unions from negotiations except for wages. The school district’s last contract expired in June 2011. Teachers had wages frozen for the 2009-10 school year and received a 1 percent wage increase in 2010-11.
Under the new state law, collective bargaining is also limited to one-year contracts.
While the meeting initially was scheduled for last week, it was postponed until Monday because a Dane County judge declared the law was unconstitutional.
“We do believe that Act 10 is valid and has application here in Waukesha County,” said Gary Ruesch, the attorney for the School Board.
The Education Association of Waukesha still wants to review district financial figures before making its proposal for a wage increase.
“The primary goal of the EAW in these negotiations is to maintain economic security for the educators in the School District of Waukesha,” said Cathy Atkinson, union president. “Our teachers have gone over a year without any increase in earnings, which has resulted in lost earning power that could have been used to stimulate the economy. This has also taken a toll on career earnings of all educators.”
The bargaining groups will next meet in mid-November. The time between meetings will allow the district and the unions “to see how the dust settles” with ongoing litigation, said Ruesch.