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State agency that handles union disputes would lose half its budget

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - If the governor gets his way, the agency that settles disputes between state unions and management would get smaller – and it would fall under a larger department.

Governor Scott Walker’s proposed state budget would cut in half the $3 million budget for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.  The agency would also lose two thirds of its 26 employees.

Instead of being its own agency, like it’s been for decades, the Walker budget would place it under the Department of Workforce Development.

Much of the agency’s work was eliminated two years ago, whenEmploy Republicans got rid of most collective bargaining for state employee unions.

The WERC also picked up some new duties – like running the annual re-certification votes that unions must have if they want to stay in existence.

A federal judge struck down those votes last spring, but an appeals court later re-instated them.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the proposed cuts reflect a reduction in the WERC’s workload.

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