TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY: I am vetoing Assembly Bill 598 in its entirety. The bill changes the Municipal Employment Relations Act so that the contracting out of services is made a permissive, rather than mandatory, subject of bargaining. Under the bill, a local government would not be required to bargain with labor unions regarding a decision to contract with a private party or with another local government for the provision of services. In addition, a local government would not be required to bargain over the impact of any outsourcing decision on the wages, hours, and conditions of employment of local government workers. Under current law, both the decision to contract out and its impact are mandatory subjects of bargaining.
I am vetoing the bill because it undermines the stability of labor relations and threatens the quality of life of Wisconsin residents. Decisions about outsourcing and contracting out jobs should remain a topic of the collective bargaining process. Public employees should have the right to make the case, through the existing collective bargaining process, that they can serve the interests of taxpayers better than a private firm. Instead of building a stronger partnership with our hardworking, dedicated public employees, this bill puts them in the crosshairs. Undermining our relationship with public employees will ultimately reduce the quality and quantity of services that taxpayers depend on.
Rather than creating an environment of instability, we should continue existing, successful processes that ensure that our public service needs are adequately addressed both near and long term. Respectfully submitted, JIM DOYLE Governor