The Madison Area Technical College District Board will meet Friday to vote on a tentative contract agreement with the part-time faculty union, even as the state Legislature moves toward passage of a bill limiting collective bargaining.
The college reached a tentative agreement giving part-time faculty raises between 3 and 12 percent last April, but the MATC Part-Time Teachers Union delayed voting on it in order to wage a court battle with the college over course assignments. On Saturday, the union voted to ratify the contract in the hopes of finalizing it before the passage of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, which would seriously curtail collective bargaining for public workers.
"My wish would be that you would ratify this thing now," said Bob Curry, vice president of the part-time teachers union, at a board meeting Wednesday night.
The tentative agreement would cost the college $1.37 million over the next two years.
MATC board members say they need to understand the implications of Walker's budget proposals to the college before voting on the contract.
"Right now we're dealing with a very different context than a year ago," said Jon Bales, MATC board president.
Under Walker's budget proposal, the college would take about a 30 percent cut in state aid, which is the equivalent of about $5 million a year.
It would also freeze the amount the college could levy in taxes for operations. That means the college can't raise taxes to pay for an estimated $5.2 million that it needs for inflationary costs and increases in salaries, said Roger Price, vice president for infrastructure.
Walker said his budget repair bill gives public entities the tools to deal with budget cuts by requiring public employees to pay more into their health insurance and pensions.
MATC president Bettsey Barhorst said the college will save about $600,000 in benefits for administrators and could save another $400,000 if the part-time teachers union contract isn't ratified.
But she said the majority of the college's employees, full-time faculty and support staff, are already locked into a contract until 2013.