Local 212 is the legally authorized bargaining
agent for teachers, counselors, outreach specialists, school
nurses, accountants and the professional staff at MATC.
We represent three separate bargaining units of fulltime
professional, part-time professionals and full and part-time
paraprofessionals. Historically, Local 212 was the first
organization to represent teachers under Wisconsin's pioneering
public employee law.
Through the persistent bargaining efforts
of Local 212, significant gains have been made over the
years for the betterment of the school and the Local's members.
We are also pleased to note that these advances have not
only been adopted locally, but have also been applied throughout
the State of Wisconsin and the nation.
Local 212 is a democratic organization,
providing ample opportunities for expression and participation
for its members - at membership meetings, at the Executive
Board level, and on various committees. We are proud that
over 98% of our full-time faculty and staff are Local 212
Local 212 does much more than protect
your wages, hours, working conditions, and rights under
the contract. Our members are active in core committees
which decide the direction of the school. We run the Educational
Research & Dissemination (ER&D) program, which helps
you become a better employee. Our members are involved in
promoting progressive legislation to help students and the
school. We also share MATC's commitment to educational excellence
and work hard to make the institution a better place for
all our students as well as faculty and staff.
A Brief History of Local 212
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
granted a charter to the Milwaukee Vocational Teachers’
Association, Local 212, on January 27, 1930. Several issues
led to the teachers’ decision to unionize. All teachers
put in long hours and could be fired without a hearing.
Women teachers were paid less than men for comparable work.
When they got married they were expected to quit and stay
home, and if they got pregnant without being married they
were looked on as moral degenerates and fired immediately.
Teachers organized to have a voice regarding educational
matters and their jobs. It took a lot of courage because
they would have been fired if the effort failed. Early meetings
were held secretly in the boiler room.
A major challenge to the union’s
existence occurred in 1937 when acting Director William
Rasche fired two senior instructors for their union activities
and insubordination such as refusing to serve as elevator
operators. At that time, only 50 out of 250 teachers were
union members as many nonunion teachers had been bought
off with larger raises. After a trial and student strike,
the school board voted three to two to reinstate the terminated
teachers. The right of teachers to unionize was largely
ratified by this decision.
World War II and its aftermath was a period
of growth for vocational education and MATC. The records
indicate that the 1940’s and 1950’s were a time
of relative harmony between school and union officials,
as energies went into serving an increasingly larger student
body and community seeking training programs for workers.
The next major challenge to the union’s
existence occurred in 1968. Lack of good faith bargaining
on the part of the district board led to a bitter twenty-eight
school day strike in January of 1969. It was very controversial,
but after all was said and done, the strike resulted in
numerous long-lasting benefits that teachers did not have
before. Teachers finally had access to the director and
other administrators at monthly meetings. There were finally
no more assignments to non-professional duties such as hall
monitoring and punching a time clock. Contractual compensation
and benefits went from being mediocre to probably the best
in the state today.
Over eight decades of the union’s
existence, there have been:
- Nine school directors
- Four different school names
- The merger of the Cudahy, Port Washington
and West Allis Vocational schools into MATC
- Assimilation of other worker groups
into the original local for full-time teachers
- Takeover attempts by another teachers’
- A successful fair share vote
- Acquisition of office space and staff
- Numerous contractual and noncontractual
disputes with school administrators
Through it all, vocational education has
flourished and our local has grown from representing a handful
of teachers to nearly 2,000 full and part-time instructors,
as well as professional support staff.
You are a product of this history and
must realize that favorable compensation, benefits, working
conditions and job security enjoyed today are the product
of your predecessors’ efforts and courage. Rather
than be complacent, you must make your own history so as
not to be a victim of it.