The state's two largest teacher’s unions may discuss merging.
AFT-Wisconsin voted over the weekend to form a committee to look at a possible merger with the Wisconsin Educational Association Council. Both unions have seen a decline in membership since Act 10 became law. The Republican-backed law drastically reduced the collective bargaining powers of public employees and it allows those employees to opt out of paying union dues. That law is currently on hold.
But WEAC President Mary Bell says the potential merger is not in response to Act 10, she says the two unions have had these talks before, "For 20 plus years we've had interactions and twice before we've actually been very close and we've been in merger discussions and actually came close to a package ten years ago."
AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy says an actual merger would take a few years to finalize. He says it would be in the best interest of both unions, "When you look at labor in general, I mean, we're always stronger together. Our two unions have so much in common in terms of shared values communities of interest that it just makes sense."
Bell of WEAC says her membership will vote in a month on whether to enter into formal merger talks.