Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

An offer too expensive to turn down

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Apparently the discussion of this week’s column started without me in the comments on my wife’s post about a proposed pay raise for Waukesha aldermen.

This week I argue that eliminating the QEO doesn’t make any sense.

The QEO means that school districts can avoid going to binding arbitration in labor negotiations with the teachers’ unions if the districts offered wage and benefit increases that total 3.8 percent per year.

It’s not a perfect system. As the Waukesha Taxpayers League showed last year with their study of the Waukesha School District, the actual average salary increases the last three years were 6.8 percent, 4.6 percent and 6.9 percent.

Contrary to what the teachers’ unions and state Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson would have you believe, the alternative was worse. Prior to 1993, contract impasses went to binding arbitration. The result was similar to the way Major League Baseball contracts exploded. One school district offered a nice-sized raise to the union and that was used to set the level for every other school district that ended up in arbitration.

So when Gov. Jim Doyle claimed in 2003, “QEO isn’t working,” it wasn’t surprising that the Legislature decided to ignore Doyle and keep it.

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