October 25, 2014

Racine rescinds contract for city workers

The City of Racine and union employees may be headed to court, after the City Council voted 11-2 Tuesday to rescind a contract that was set to take effect next year. A projected $2 million budget deficit, along with restrictions on tax increases imposed by the state, prompted the move. City Administrator Tom Friedel says allowing the contract to remain in place could have forced Racine to cut 32 employees next year.

AUDIO: Tom Friedel (:12)

Alderman Keith Fair, one of the two votes against the move, suggested the city look at other options rather than doing “the Scott Walker thing.”

Union workers filled the hearing and urged the council to keep its promise. AFSCME Local-67 President Scott Sharp reminded aldermen that they approved the contracts last year, at the time saying it was the right things to do. Sharp says workers had offered to increase contributions during negotiations, but that offer was rejected.

The contract covered 524 of the city’s 670 employees. The vote sets the stage for the Act 10 bargaining rules to be used, which allow the city to require workers to contribute more to their retirement and health benefits.

Tom Karkow, WRJN