The Wauwatosa Police Union and its supervisors have filed a claim disputing the city's interpretation of a portion of the state budget bill. If the city denies the claim, the police groups would have the right to sue.
City administrators say they have to bargain with police and fire unions over health care premium contributions. Meanwhile, the law gives municipalities the authority to make design changes to employee health care plans, said Beth Aldana, city human resources director.
The police have a different understanding of the law.
"We feel that we should still be able to bargain with the city, as we always have in the past, over what our premium, co-pay and deductible amounts will be," said Luke Vetter, police union president.
Wauwatosa police aren't the only public workers questioning the interpretation and looking to the courts to outline exactly what the words "health plan" entail. Milwaukee and Green Bay workers have filed similar actions.
Administrators attribute changes to the health plan - every city worker will be on the same plan come Jan. 1 - for eliminating nearly half, or $1.2 million, of the city's anticipated budget shortfall for 2012.
If the city does not deny the claim, the lawsuit would be delayed for a few months.
Administrators didn't say how they plan to move ahead, however police and city administrators will meet Thursday in an attempt to resolve the issues.
"We are evaluating our options," Aldana said.
The lawsuit is holding up arbitration on the union's contract.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Wauwatosa Senior Meals: Week of Dec. 7
- Business Spotlight: Face time is the best time for photographer Stephanie Bartz
- Business Notes: Nov. 26
- Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options
- Wauwatosa Things to Do: Nov. 26
- Wauwatosa girl scouts help feed the hungry this Thanksgiving
- Ask Now: Why the fancy drain at Hart Park? (2)
- In Brief: Nov. 26
- Wauwatosa library announces campaign to give students study space
- In our schools