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Quit Act 10 Up: AFSCME Overcomes Rogue Milwaukee County Executive for Pay Raise

Chris Abele just having a grand ol' time keeping wages down!

Chris Abele just having a grand ol’ time keeping wages down!

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The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has won a 1.5 percent cost-of-living wage for Milwaukee County employees despite the efforts of county executive Chris Abele to stunt wage growth.  The union fought for months by placing pressure on Abele through concerned citizens calls to his office.  The raise was approved by the county board in July, but Abele vetoed the measure.  The board then voted overwhelmingly to override the veto which Abele delayed action on claiming that “he was weighing his options.”

According to Cognitive Dissidence, Abele was attempting to get out of the pay raise using the authority granted to him by a law that he wrote:

It turned out that what he called “considering the options” was trying to wiggle out of giving the raises by claiming that they somehow violated Act 14 – the law that Abele had written for and passed by Republican legislators and Scott Walker which consolidated an unprecedented amount of power in his hands – and therefore was illegal.  Abele was also arguing semantics, claiming that the wording used didn’t mean he had to give the raise.

The documents that explain the legal argument used to force Abele’s hand are available on the Cognitive Dissidence website for the legally inclined.

Abele eventually gave in and provided the raises. Abele’s HR director asked AFSCME members to stop calling his office and confirmed that they would receive their raises.  In a statement, AFSCME Council 32 president Paul Spink said:

“We appreciate all the county supervisors who stood with us.  Their leadership stands in stark contrast to a county executive who only wants to starve vital services that citizens depend on every day.”


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