Janesville police supervisors to form union
JANESVILLE Fourteen supervisors at the Janesville Police Department have unionized in reaction to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal that would require all public workers except unionized police and fire personnel to pay half their pensions.
"Basically, if we're not exempt, they (union personnel) are going to have a chance to make more than the supervisors will make because we'll be paying into our portion of the WRS (Wisconsin Retirement System)," said Sgt. Charles Aagaard, president of the new Janesville Police Supervisors Association.
"We're just looking to keep that wage compression from occurring between the police officers and their supervisors."
The union was made official earlier this month on a 14-0 vote.
Supervisors are defined as sergeants and lieutenants.
The chief and two deputy chiefs remain the only police officers not members of a union. The civil employees in the police department are also not unionized.
The council considered bargaining parameters with the new union during Monday's closed session, Manager Eric Levitt said.
Levitt settled contracts with four unions shortly after Walker's proposal. Levitt said at the time that he settled because he was close to agreements with those unions, and it was only fair to continue bargaining in good faith. Those agreements did not require union members to pay half of their pensions, exempting them for two years even if Walker's proposal is approved.
Whether the council will give the same deal to the new union is unknown since there are no tentative agreements, Levitt said.
Aagaard said Walker is looking at a "blanket" exemption for all police and fire personnel that would solve the issue.
But for now, police supervisors are not exempt.
"We're simply trying to organize so we have an opportunity to be exempt like the other people that we supervise," Aagaard said.
"We're not unhappy in any way, shape or form."