PPCU Member Newsletter

In This Issue:
  • WRS: Fact & Fiction
  • Introducing the New PPCU
  • Bargaining Update
  • Join the SEIU Retiree Chapter

WRS: Fact & Fiction about Your Retirement Security

all members of the PPCU are members of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).  As part of the WRS, you pay a set amount of every check which is matched by your employing agency.  The employer also pays some of your employee contribution.

In exchange for all of these contributions, you are guaranteed a minimum pension payment for as long as you live.  The bottom line is that a WRS retirement typically replaces 60-85% of your pre-retirement income when combined with social security. If you don’t have social security, your higher contributions help make up the difference. This is a big piece of your retirement income since most experts suggest you will want to have about 70-80 of pre-retirement income to keep your standard of living.

The big lie: Your pension is too generous and it is a burden to the taxpayers.

WRS is a bargain for you and the taxpayers. WRS benefits are secure and you can easily plan your retirement around knowing it is there for you.  Wisconsin has some of the best funded pension plans in the world.  WRS is funded at over 99% so there is no foreseeable short-fall even  accounting for all the baby boomer retirements that have started and will last another 15 years.

WRS lives off its investment income. The National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) showed that in 2010, Wisconsin taxpayers only paid 2.07% of total taxes to fund the WRS.

In conclusion, we can see the WRS is rock-solid and will be easy to manage in the future.  We can only go wrong if we start to tinker with it.  Recent rule changes on vesting and post-retirement work have not been necessary and do nothing to help it. Still those have been minor and do little to undermine the long-term health of WRS. Switching to a “defined contribution” (401K) would be a huge mistake, however.  It will provide less in benefits, drive up taxes, reduce job security or perhaps do all of these things.  We’ve heard enough lies from politicians. Let’s not go for this one.

Introducing Professional Patient Care United (PPCU)

Welcome to the new PPCU!  Professional Patient Care United is the associate membership organization that SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin (HCWI) has created for state workers in our PPCU bargaining unit.  The new PPCU is designed to provide our state healthcare professionals with a unified voice in state politics, at each employing unit and within SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin.  The new PPCU has reduced dues of $20 per month to reflect the limited servicing that SEIU Healthcare can provide.

As an associate membership, you can still participate in SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin activities, consult with our staff on workplace issues and grievances, and remain part of the fight to regain full collective bargaining rights for all state workers.  Together, state workers in the new PPCU can continue to work as a group for the betterment of all.

To sign up for the new PPCU, please click here for instructions on how to join. This is a great opportunity to continue the fight for your union rights and work together for those citizens we serve every day.

Note: This is an associate membership organization.  You will not be eligible to run for any elected office in SEIU HCWI nor vote in any SEIU HCWI elections.

Bargaining Update

On July 31, 2013, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin bargained with the State of Wisconsin in what has been the shortest bargaining session since PPCU was created more than thrity years ago. Due to Act 10 which was passed by the legislature in 2011, your Union is limited to bargaining only base wages up to the cost of living index. In addition, bargaining is further limited by the legislature only authorizing 1% increase in the budget. After three hours of bargaining to try to get the State to put more money on the table, it was obvious to our Union bargaining team that the 1% in the budget was the maximum that could be provided. So our Union bargaining team reached a tentative agreement on the 1 % increase for PPCU members. This tentative agreement must be passed by the Wisconsin Legislature.  Click here to read the tentative agreement. We expect this will be taken up in September at the next session of the legislature. When the date of this is known, we will inform you so that you can start calling your legislator to support it.

Please be aware that there were two other developments in the bargaining that had nothing to do with the base wage bargaining. The State decided to move all of PPCU to a broad banding system rather than a step system like we had in the past. This means that some employees (about 149 employees in the PPCU of 1,050) received an adjustment in July because their pay was below the new start rate for the broad band for their job title.  These PPCU members will not receive the 1% as other employees. However, if the amount of the employee’s adjustment was less than a 1% increase, the employee will receive the difference between the adjustment and the 1% increase.  Please see this link for the broad banding minimum, midpoint and maximum.

The other development in the bargaining was a total shock to our team. The State decided to put all of the LPNs in the State in our PPCU bargaining unit. The State did this without any notice or consent from SEIU HCWI. Before this occurred, the LPNs were represented by AFSCME.  In order for our Union to approve of this change, AFSCME would have to agree to release the LPNs. After consulting with AFSCME on this, our Union has sent notification to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) requesting that the LPNs be removed from our bargaining unit.  We will keep you posted on any developments with this unusual situation.


Join the SEIU Retiree Chapter

The Retiree Chapter of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin exists to maintain and forge new relationships with fellow union retirees. For some, the chapter is a source of mutual support. The Retiree Chapter engages in social activities and advocates in the interests of union members and retirees.

“I like being active in the SEIU Healthcare WI Retiree Chapter because it helps me stay current on issues important to me and to be engaged with others.” – Steve Robertson, Mendota Mental Health (MMHI), Retired NC II

“I believe in workers’ rights, fair wages and fair treatment in the workplace. I stay involved in the union to support this as a Retiree member.” – Maxine Nehmer, Central Wisconsin Center (CWC), Retired DD Specialist

“I really didn’t realize how much the union meant and what it did for me until it was being taken away. I’m active in the union as a retired member to keep the labor union alive. I hope you will join us.” – Janie Harris, 1 W. Wilson, Retired Nursing Consultant 2

For more information on the Retiree chapter of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, contact Scott Hanson at 608-277-1199 x 15 or by emailing ScottH@seiuhcwi.org

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