Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) Publishes Consumer Price Index (CPI) Rate for General Municipal Employee Collective Bargaining Agreements Beginning January 1, 2014
The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission published the January 1, 2014 Consumer Price Index rate for negotiating "total base wage" one-year collective bargaining agreements between municipal employers and general municipal employee bargaining units. The January 1, 2014 CPI rate has dropped to 1.66%. The CPI rate for agreements beginning July 1, 2013 was 2.07%, and the CPI rate was 2.96% for agreements beginning January 1, 2013.
As a result of these new published rates, the municipality and the bargaining representative cannot negotiate a total base wage increase above 1.66% for agreements beginning January 1, 2014. If the municipality wants to collectively bargain a total base wage increase above 1.66%, then the municipality must receive approval from the electorate through a referendum.
Employers should also remember that WERC is once again implementing annual certification elections for general municipal employee bargaining units. These elections require the bargaining representative to receive 51% of the vote of all bargaining unit members in order to continue representing the employee group. The certification election process has already begun for school districts and bargaining representatives of school district employee groups. That election process should finish by December 2013. We anticipate the annual certification elections for municipal collective bargaining groups will occur shortly thereafter. Further information should be released this fall.
The rules for school districts established the consequences of a collective bargaining representative's failure to timely file a petition for election, and we anticipate these rules will remain similar for municipal entities. According to those rules, if a timely petition is not filed, then the following consequences shall apply:
If no collective bargaining agreement is in effect, then the existing representative shall no longer be entitled to exclusive representative status for purposes of collective bargaining as of petition filing deadline.
If a collective bargaining agreement is in effect, then the existing representative shall no longer be entitled to exclusive representative status for purposes of collective bargaining as of the expiration of the agreement.
The employees in the bargaining unit shall not be included in a substantially similar collective bargaining unit for at least a period of one year following the petition filing deadline or the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
We believe WERC will use the same telephonic voting process they previously used during the first round of certification elections involving School Districts.