County Board won't consider union contract extension - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

County Board votes down option to consider union contract extension

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By Bonnie Shelton

WAUSAU (WAOW)--The Marathon County Board voted down the option to consider a contract extension for union workers 22 to 10.

The meeting lasted over two hours and in addition to discussing different ways the budget repair bill could affect county services and programs, board members also debated the value of meeting with union representatives to discuss the possibility of contract extensions.

Some board members argued it was beneficial to at least hear out the union and what they would be willing to bring to the table. On the other side, some said they thought there wasn't enough time before Tuesday's deadline to sufficiently discuss the issue.

In addition to the loss of collective bargaining rights, the budget repair bill could create a deficit of around one million dollars for the county, officials said. Some board members argued when facing such a devastating possibility, they could not afford to offer an extension to union workers when it could prevent them from making changes later that would best benefit a majority of Marathon County residents.

AFSCME Staff Representative John Spiegelhoff spoke on the union's behalf, and was disappointed with the board's decision to forgo any talks. He said the union had valid proposals that could have saved the county money in the long run.

The vote is final. Only time will tell how the Governor's budget repair bill will affect Marathon County and the services it provides. According to published reports, the Secretary of State says the bill will be published on March 25th, and will take effect the next day.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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