This week we sent an email out to Local leaders asking a few questions: Do you "
meet and confer
" with the District? If so, who meets and how often? What do you talk about?
Many Locals have already responded and we are compiling the data to help those who want to engage in these types of discussions, but perhaps the District is unwilling or doesn't seem to understand that it is LEGAL to conduct these sorts of meetings. That's right folks, Act 10 did
not prohibit people from talking to one another!
"Meet and Confer" has a specific
, relating to particular types of court proceedings. Some meet and confer meetings are required prior to going to court to resolve issues. It seems reasonable enough - why not sit down and talk about things before things get messy and expensive? Maybe we can find some common ground!
In Wisconsin State law, the Municipal Employment Relations Act (MERA) protects the rights of public education employees to "self-organization, and the right to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in lawful, concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection."
Act 10 severely limited the scope of bargaining, and included the necessity of recertification in order for the union to have the authority to be the lawful bargaining agent. Collective bargaining requires agreement and is codified with a written and signed document. "Meet and confer" is different. NOTHING in Act 10 or any other law prohibits the employer from sitting down to talk about issues of mutual concern. In fact, the law is with us when we demand to talk with our employer - whether the Local is certified or not!
Region 3 Director