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Lawmaker upset raise won't cover all state workers

Published On: Jul 25 2013 04:46:24 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

A Wisconsin Democratic lawmaker wants a 1 percent pay raise for state workers applied to everyone, including those who are still covered by unions.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, sent Republican Gov. Scott Walker a letter on Thursday asking that he take steps to make sure the pay raise put forward by his administration applies across the board in each of the next two years. But Walker's spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said the raise applies only to those not covered under union contracts because those who are represented can bargain over their salaries.

Roughly 3,000 state workers are still covered under union contracts, a small portion of the roughly 69,000 state employees.

A law passed in 2011, introduced by Walker, took away all collective bargaining rights for most public workers except their ability to bargain over base wage increases no greater than inflation. However, given their diminished ability to negotiate, only seven of the 20 state employee bargaining units, representing 3,012 workers, have taken steps to recertify since the law passed.

An eighth, representing prison workers, voted this month to form a union, but that vote could still be contested.

Walker in June proposed the 1 percent pay increase for each of the next two years for eligible employees. It represents the first pay raise for most workers in at least four years.

"Eligible state employees are those who are non-represented, including those whose unions did not vote to recertify," Webster said Thursday in an email. "For those state employees who chose to vote for their union's recertification, the negotiations over wage increases will happen as a part of the collective bargaining process between their union and the state."

Erpenbach, in his letter to Walker, said the pay increase should apply to everyone. If that can't happen, he said he hoped to have negotiated bargaining agreements the Legislature can vote on in September.

The 1 percent pay raise applies to most state and University of Wisconsin workers and will show up in paychecks this week. Those making less than $15 an hour will also see an additional increase of up to 25 cents an hour.

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