Legislative Bulletin, January 13, 2010
Protecting the Integrity of the Arbitration Process
The Assembly Committee on Labor held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 609, authored by Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee), on Wednesday, Jan.13. AB 609 would limit the ability of courts to overturn rulings by arbitrators in a mediation arbitration process. Currently, courts have broad powers to overturn an arbitrator’s decision, even when both sides in the dispute have agreed to binding arbitration. These powers weaken the arbitration process, and take the final decision out of the hands of an arbitrator experienced with the issues in dispute and place them in the hands of a judge who may or may not be familiar with labor/management negotiations. AFSCME testified in support of the bill and is asking the committee to schedule a vote in the coming weeks.
Presumption Bill Receives Hearing
Assembly Bill 644, authored by Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Jim Sullivan (D-Milwaukee), also received a hearing in the Assembly Labor Committee on Wednesday, Jan.13. The bill creates the presumption, for purposes of determining benefits, that firefighters, emergency medical services providers, law enforcement officers and corrections officers who die or are disabled due to an infectious communicable disease, contracted the disease through their line of work. Under current law these protections extend to fire fighters for heart and respiratory issues they likely would have obtained as a part of their public service. This bill expands the people covered by this protection to cover diseases that can be spread by direct contact to many public employees who work with people who are at a higher risk of having such a disease.
AFSCME Lobby Day: Strengthening Power at the Bargaining Table, Fighting Privatization and Protecting Public Services
AFSCME Lobby Day 2010 will be held in Madison on Wednesday, March 3. This year’s Lobby Day will focus on increasing our power at the bargaining table, fighting the rush to privatization and adequately funding public services. Lobby Day is critical to AFSCME Wisconsin’s legislative program, as each year nearly 500 AFSCME members from all three Wisconsin Councils descend on the Capitol on one day, and speak with one voice about the importance of public services.
To sign up for Lobby Day please contact either your Council, the Council 11 office at the number listed below, or your Take Back America Staff. We hope you will join us as AFSCME Green Power descends on the Capitol.
For more information, contact the AFSCME lobbyists at 608-836-6666.