On December 4, 2013, City of Rhinelander employees represented by AFSCME, Local 1226, filed a declaratory judgment action in Oneida County Circuit Court, alleging that the City committed a prohibited practice under Wisconsin’s Municipal Employment Relations Act (MERA). The Union’s suit alleges that despite the City entering into a tentative agreement with its employees for a 2013 collective bargaining agreement, but then refused to sign the agreement and, since that time, has violated the terms of that tentative agreement. The suit claims that, in a session closed to the public, the City Council voted to reject the terms of that agreement and, instead, to subject the wages of the City’s employees to an employment manual that the City can unilaterally change at any time. Since that time, the City has, in fact, reduced the wages of newly hired employees by $4.00/hour, without negotiating such terms with the Union. Finally, the suit asserts, the City failed to give notice of its closed session vote to either the Union, its employees, or the residents of the City.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration by the Circuit Court that the City violated MERA and asks the Court to order the City to sign the agreement the parties negotiated. See PDF here.