MTI head says district ‘interfered with the union’ in wage negotiation, files complaint

Scott Girard:

Madison Teachers Inc. filed its second grievance against the Madison Metropolitan School District this year on Wednesday.

The complaint filed with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) comes after the district sent out a Nov. 30 communication stating “the MMSD Board of Education, MTI and the trades have ratified the agreement to increase base wages by 0.50%.” MTI executive director Ed Sadlowski said MTI and the trades group did not ratify the base wage increase at that level and called the communication “union-busting.”

“They falsely stated and interfered with the union that MTI had ratified the agreement,” Sadlowski said in an interview.

District spokesperson Tim LeMonds did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday or Thursday.

Despite the complaint, the union’s leadership is still hopeful district officials and School Board members will reconsider a budget decision from earlier this fall and give staff a full cost-of-living base wage increase of 1.81%. As approved, the budget authorizes district staff to negotiate up to just 0.5%, less than the state-mandated maximum of a 1.81% base wage increase.

The board fully funded longevity increases — known as “steps and lanes” — but MTI said that wouldn’t apply to every staff member, while base wage would increase everyone’s pay.

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