Write the BOE and Ask Them to Collectively Bargain

TJ Mertz did a wonderful write-up in AMPS, so there is no reason for me to redo his work. Please read his post and write the Madison Board of Education at board@madison.k12.wi.us to ask them to engage in fair contract negoatiations for our public school employees.

The following is my email to the Board:

Dear MMSD Board of Education,

On Thursday night, the Dane County Board led the way by voting on negotiated contracts for AFSCME county workers for the year 2015. Friday, the City Council followed suit and reached a tentative agreement with AFSCME Local 60. The City Council has also secured contracts for police and fire through 2014 or 2015. In these cases, the elected officials involved took action because it was the right thing to do for the city and the county. According to Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi, “We are showing yet again that in Dane County we get more done by sitting down and working with people. This agreement proves again you can protect both taxpayers and the people who go to work for them everyday and plow roads, care for kids, and keep our community great.”

It is time for Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI) and the Board of Education to sit down at the bargaining table. Collective bargaining is a fair process that is best for our teachers, our students and our schools. Since February of 2011, our teachers have taken some painful hits to their paycheck, their voice in the workplace and their professional dignity. With Judge Colas’ ruling, the door is opened up and we can set some of this straight. Negotiating was always the right path, both before and after Act 10. It is through negotiating that teachers as a group have a voice in the workplace and a voice in the education of their students. There has always been a level of mutual compromise in these negotiations, which is a critical component in a truly collaborative system.

In April of 2012, an advisory referendum on the ballot read, “Should all Wisconsin workers have the right to seek safe working conditions and fair pay through collective bargaining?” In Madison, the response was overwhelming; 76% of Madison voters voted “yes.” As elected officials, I urge you to listen to the people of Madison and engage in bargaining. Settle contracts for our school employees early on and engage in a process that is both familiar and successful. MTI and the BOE have a long history of working together to do what is best for our schools. Let’s move forward and continue that tradition.


Karen Vieth

Teacher, Sennett Middle School

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