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No Plans For Police And Fire Unions, According To Republican Leadership

Lawmakers Downplay Need For More Public Sector Labor Changes

Jereme Rauckman (CC-BY)

Republican legislative leaders say Wisconsin’s police and fire unions are not the state Legislature’s next target, when it comes to clamping down on organized labor.

A just-signed right-to-work law went after private sector unions, outlawing mandatory payment of union dues as a condition of employment. Four years ago, Act 10 curtailed collective bargaining for most public sectors unions but exempted police and firefighters.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said police and fire unions are not next up for bargaining restrictions. He said the Legislature could revisit the issue at some point but signaled it wasn’t pressing.

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“I would say no, I think, because many of the unions have been migrating toward that on their own, I think some see the handwriting on the wall,” Fitzgerald said.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said many new hires in fire and police departments are already paying more toward their pensions and health care. He said slow progress in that direction for municipalities is the better way to go than a statewide change.