Six unions win recertification elections by wide margins

All six unions whose members sought recertification under Gov. Scott Walker's controversial new collective bargaining law won those elections by wide margins, state officials reported Wednesday.

The voting demonstrates that the union members remain strong and united, Dian Palmer, president of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin said in a statement.

"Nurses and health care professionals understand that a collective voice is not just about wages and benefits — this is about quality care for all Wisconsinites," Palmer said. "Scott Walker has united the labor movement. As a union we will move forward, and as a union we will succeed."

Under the new state law that removed most public employee collective bargaining rights, bargaining units need to win the backing of 51 percent of their bargaining unit members in order to have limited ability to bargain for cost-of-living wage increases.

The election result "means that we will be issuing a demand to begin bargaining," said Nancy Wettersten, vice president of Wisconsin State Attorney's Association. "It is very gratifying to the leadership of the union to have such a strong show of support and confidence."

Peter Davis, general counsel for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, reported these results:

• The 261-member bargaining unit for the Wisconsin State Attorney's Association voted 217-6 for the union.

• The 1,033-member Service Employees International Union Healthcare Wisconsin won 658-23.

• The Association of State Prosecutors voted 289-7 for certification. It had 368 eligible members.

• The State Professional Education and Information Council voted 523-12 out of 655 members.

• Wisconsin State Building Trades Negotiating Committee voted 320-11 out of 434 members.

• The state Professional Employees in Research, Statistics and Analysis unit voted 42-0 for the union. There were 57 eligible voters.

The voting took place via telephone over the last two weeks.

The vast majority of state employee union members chose not to seek certification, saying the rules were unfair, the cost too high, and the payoff too small, since a certified union would be able to bargain only for limited wage increases, not benefits or working conditions.

Voting for teachers unions begins later this month. Municipal unions vote early next year.

Wisconsin State Journal, Wed Nov 16 2011

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