Employees FAQ 26

Are municipalities and represented general municipal employees limited to collectively bargaining on total base wage increases at or below the consumer price index (CPI) only?

Yes.  2011 Wisconsin Act 10 limits increases to total base wages that may be bargained by local governments.  Under Act 10, if a local government agrees  to increase total base wages by a percentage that exceeds the CPI change, the governing body must adopt a resolution specifying the amount by which the total base wages increase will exceed the CPI limit.  The resolution may not take effect unless it is approved in a referendum.. The referendum must occur in November for collective bargaining agreements that begin the following January 1. The results of a referendum apply only to the total base wages in the next collective bargaining agreement.

It is important to note, however, that Act 10 allows local governments to unilaterally implement other compensation measures or policies such as performance bonuses, merit increases, premium pay, pay schedules, automatic pay progressions, and supplemental compensation for general municipal employees without the need to go to a referendum.  In essence, under the bill represented employees are treated the same as non-represented employees regarding “other compensation” (compensation other than base wages).  Local governments will have discretion over how much or how little to award as “other compensation” to general municipal employees.  Moreover, local governments may award different levels of “other compensation” to employees based upon the performance of the employee or any other measure the employer deems relevant.