Wisconsin Court of Appeals Rules on Benefits for Public Safety Employees

Previant Law Firm
On April 16, 2013 a State Appeals Court ruled that the City of Milwaukee could unilaterally modify the terms of its 2010 to 2012 collective bargaining agreement with the Milwaukee Police Association. In Milwaukee Police Association v. City of Milwaukee, 2012AP1928 the Court ruled that the Municipal Employment Relations Act, as modified by 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, which barred public safety employees from bargaining over the design and selection of health care coverage extended to preventing unions from bargaining over how the impact of the design affects its members’ finances. The decision overruled a prior Circuit Court decision which had enjoined the City from modifying the Agreement’s “specific deductibles, co- pays, prescription costs.” In making its ruling the Court of Appeals noted that Act 32 had removed many of the bargaining protections that Act 10 had left in place. The decision is a hard blow to the bargaining rights of municipal public safety employees.