Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Walk-O-Meter

Restore Qualified Economic Offer system for school district bargaining


Will restore the Qualified Economic Offer in school district bargaining. "The Qualified Economic Offer (QEO), which helped hold down local school costs for more than 15 years, will be restored and tied to revenue caps to align each district’s expenses with their revenues."


Subjects: Education

Updates

Actions via Act 10 went even further

On the 2010 campaign trail, Scott Walker promised specific changes to the existing system of collective bargaining for public employees, which he felt was tipped against employers.

One change he wanted was restoring a cap on what teachers could get in contract negotiations. Those limits were put in place in 1993 under the so-called "qualified economic offer” system.

Gov. Jim Doyle and Democrats in the Legislature repealed the "QEO” in 2009.

The QEO's defenders said it had allowed school districts to avoid going to winner-takes-all arbitration, as they had in the past when they couldn't settle contracts with teachers. Critics of arbitrated settlements said they too often came down on the side of union-represented employees. The QEO allowed districts to raise teachers" pay and benefits by a maximum of 3.8% a year without going to arbitration.

Teachers said they were unfairly singled out among public employees for the limits on their compensation.

Fast forward to 2011. Walker, once in office, unveiled his budget-repair bill, which sharply curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees, including teachers.

Instead of seeking to reform the current system, by bringing back the QEO for teachers, Walker went much further.

His emergency budget bill, put into law as Act 10 over massive protests by Democrats and unions, allows public employers to unilaterally change fringe benefits without collective bargaining. Workers can still bargain on wages, but any raise above the rate of inflation would have to be approved in a voter referendum.

Walker ended bargaining over fringe benefits and sharply limited it on wages, rather than keep collective bargaining intact with limits such as the QEO on what employees could get.

The difference between his promise and his action has generated criticism that his union limits were a surprise. We have previously rated False Walker"s statement that he campaigned on the sharp union limits.

On this promise, restoring the QEO would have allowed school districts to limit the compensation increases for teachers.

The approach Walker took instead gives districts even greater ability to do that.

His promise would have somewhat limited teachers' power in collective bargaining. His action greatly limited their power.

His promise was fulfilled, and then some.

This is a Promise Kept.

Sources:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker signs budget bill, legal challenges mount,” March 11, 2011

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State law restricting teacher raises likely to be repealed,” April 15, 2009