AFSCME moving its Madison headquarters closer to Downtown

The move is the latest fallout from Act 10, which resulted in a significant decline in public sector union membership.

MIKE DeVRIES, CAPITAL TIMES

A union representing public employees in Wisconsin announced Friday it plans to sell its Madison headquarters on the West Side and move closer to Downtown.

The move is the latest fallout from Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker’s signature 2011 law that severely curtailed the ability of public employee unions to function.

The Wisconsin American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it plans to relocate to “a more efficient space,” but didn’t identify a specific address.

The current headquarters includes 215,000 square feet on about 5 acres located at 8033 Excelsior Drive. According to the Madison Assessor’s Office, it sold in 1990 for $375,000. Because it houses a nonprofit organization the property is tax exempt.

In a statement, Wisconsin AFSCME executive director Rick Badger said the organization has been reviewing its options since unifying its three councils two years ago.

“We are excited for the move,” Badger said. “We believe we can better advocate for our members by finding office space closer to Downtown. This will place us closer to lawmakers and allow us to be more accessible to our members.”

Badger said the new Madison location will remain the statewide union’s headquarters. The move does not affect the Milwaukee office.

Earlier this year, Madison Teachers Inc. announced it was leaving its longtime headquarters on Williamson Street and moving into the Wisconsin Education Association Council building on the city’s Southeast Side. WEAC had previously been looking to sell its building due to declining membership since Act 10.

AFSCME’s three councils representing employees in state government, Milwaukee government and in local governments around the state experienced severe drops in membership after Act 10.

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Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.