Madison union approves new contract with city

Madison Common Council to vote on contract

Members of Madison’s largest employee union have ratified a new contract that would mean possible wage cuts but an avoidance of layoffs.

AFSCME Local 60, which represents about 1,100 municipal workers in the city, approved the contract overwhelmingly, representative Jennifer McCulley said. About 72 percent of the general bargaining unit, the largest of four, agreed to the deal, she said.

“They would continue their rights and benefits under the contract, with a potential of a financial concession in it,” McCulley said. “Things like just cause and independent grievance arbitration will remain in place for an additional year.”

The contract takes effect when the current one expires in March 2014, and would run for an additional year. It needs final approval from the Madison Common Council, which is scheduled to vote Thursday.

Mayor Paul Soglin has said the wage cuts will save the city about $900,000. Contract talks with other unions are ongoing and could ultimately push the savings to $2.5 million, Soglin said Monday.

The new deals are possible because of Dane County Judge Juan Colas’ ruling Sept. 14 that parts of Act 10 were unconstitutional. While state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asks the judge to stay his original ruling, unions have been rushing to get new contracts in place.