Local 1963, International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin (PFFW) successfully sued the City of Greenfield for a temporary restraining order. The City had scheduled a vote by the Common Council to adopt a $5,000/person, $10,000 per family health insurance deductible, with the employee to pay 40% of the subsequent health care costs up to a maximum of $20,000/person and $40,000 per family. One of the union’s members had health care costs for his family that would have resulted in reaching the $40,000 maximum family liability. The City had previously informed the Union that if it did not agree to pay the entire WRS employee premium and 12.6% contribution toward health insurance premiums, it would implement this draconian health insurance plan on 1/1/12. The Union refused to be threatened. It did not rule out the possibility of bargaining a change in these matters, but insisted that it would not be threatened in this manner.

Attorneys Timothy Hawks and Jeffrey Sweetland who drafted the affidavits and pleadings over a weekend, filed the lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Judge Maxine White who presided over the case, ordered the City to appear and respond to the Union’s claims the next day. The Unions asserted that however “plan design” might be defined under Act 32’s new reform making it a prohibited subject of bargaining, the City was in fact bargaining over the health insurance plan design, a matter strictly prohibited by the new reform. The Court agreed and issued a temporary restraining order preventing the City’s Common Council from voting to implement the draconian health insurance plan. Local 1963 subsequently engaged in good faith bargaining with the City and the parties reached an agreement for 2012 and 2013.

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