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11430 West Bluemound Road, Suite 104
Wauwatosa, WI 63226
T (414) 476-6000
F (414) 476-6015


11430 West Bluemound Road Ste. 104
Wauwatosa, WI, 53226
United States


The Labor Association of Wisconsin, Inc., is a 21st Century labor relations firm and has been representing public employees throughout the state of Wisconsin since 1985.

L.A.W., Inc provides  labor representation specializing in law enforcement.  Our Full Service plan, offers representation in collective bargaining, grievance handling, discipline, prohibited practice complaints, unit clarification, declaratory ruling and any other hearing before the WERC among other benefits provided by LAW.  Contact us for more information.

News and Updates

News and information updates for LAW, Inc. association members.

Public workers may pay more for retirement

Debbie Plunkett

Investment losses in 2008 and 2011 cited

Courtesy Fox 11 News

MADISON (AP) - Public employees in Wisconsin could see another increase in the contribution rates they pay into the Wisconsin Retirement System under a plan the system board is scheduled to consider Thursday. 

The proposal is for rates to be 14 percent of payroll for teachers and general employees, with workers and their employers each paying half, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The employers are state and local governments, meaning taxpayers would foot that share of the bill. 

The retirement system gets 80 percent of its income from investments. But large market losses in 2008 and 2011 forced a series of rate increases and cuts in retiree benefits. 

Benefits to retirees have dropped for five years, including a cut of nearly 10 percent on May 1 that trimmed payments for nearly 100,000 retirees. 

Next year would be the fifth straight year that the contribution rate increased. It was 13.3 percent of payroll last year and 11.6 percent the year before that. 

Lagging investment income was responsible for about half of this year's contribution-rate increase. The other half was the result of the 2011 law that ended collective bargaining and required employees to pay exactly 50 percent of required contributions. The law also increased benefit levels for future retirees, so total contribution had to rise in anticipation of the future costs.

There are more than 570,000 current and former public employees invested in the retirement system. About 167,000 are retirees and their beneficiaries, who received an average pension of $25,000 in 2011. 

The $85 billion fund is considered one of the most stable in the nation because state law requires adjustments to rates and benefits when investment income falters. 

Local governments can have difficulty covering the contribution rate increases because the state imposed tougher limits on local taxes in 2011, said Curt Witynski, assistant director of the Wisconsin League of Municipalities. 

"It is a big part of municipal budgets because payroll and benefits are big parts of our budgets," Witynski said. 

Rob Marchant, the deputy secretary of the state Department of Employee Trust Funds, said not all public workers will end up paying more. The 8.5 percent of retirement system participants who are police, firefighters or prison workers will have some or all of the increase offset by decreased contributions to a disability fund.

LAW will continue to monitor this information and provide you will updates as they occur.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at LAW in the Germantown office.