Handbooks replace monopoly bargaining for many Wisconsin teachers

Wisconsin Act 10 severely restricted the subjects that come under the purvey of monopoly bargaining, and many districts are issuing handbooks instead of the union contract.  Keith Uhlig has the story in the Daily Herald Media.

The teachers of the Wausau School District likely will begin the 2013-14 school year with new workplace rules that include a new lay-off procedure and a dress code.

Wausau School Board members and administrators are finishing work on an employee handbook for teachers, which will set their working conditions. A final draft of the handbook is expected to be completed by Aug. 12, the next meeting of board. The School Board likely will vote on the handbook at that meeting, after teachers are given a chance to provide feedback.

Wausau School District teachers through last school year had been working under contracts that were negotiated between the district and the Wausau Education Association, the teachers union. Those contracts were approved prior to the passage of Act 10 in 2011. Act 10 is a state law that limits the bargaining abilities of most public unions. Public unions can only bargain for increased wages; school boards now set working conditions.

Those negotiated contracts lapsed at the end of June and the Wausau School District has been working on the new handbooks for months, said Jeff Gress, director of human resource and employee relations.