Issue Paper

ISSUE: A 3.5% wage pass-through for nursing home housekeepers, food workers and laundry workers ("support service staff")


The 1999-2001 state budget adopted by the Legislature last year contained a 3.5% wage pass-through for nursing home dietitians and food workers, laundry workers and housekeepers, as well as 5% wage pass-through for certified nursing assistants (CNA). While signing the CNA wage pass-through into law, Governor Thompson vetoed the 3.5% wage pass-through for the support service staff. A bill currently is in drafting which once again would offer a 3.5% wage pass-through supplement for housekeepers, laundry workers, and food workers, but would exclude dietitians. The original proposal would have applied the wage-pass through supplement to increased wages, benefits or staffing hours; the new proposal would apply the supplement only to wages and/or increased staffing. The fiscal note for the original proposal was $4 million GPR and $8.9 million all funds over the biennium; the soon-to-be-introduced wage pass-through proposal, which was crafted and is supported by both labor (AFSCME and Service Employees International Union) and management (Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging [WAHSA] and Wisconsin Health Care Association [WHCA]), carries a price tag of $2.2 million GPR and $4.6 million all funds.

Supporting Arguments:

The Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (WAHSA) is a statewide membership organization of not-for-profit corporations principally serving elderly and disabled persons. Membership is comprised of 190 religious, fraternal, private and governmental organizations which own, operate and/or sponsor 194 not-for-profit nursing homes, 71 community-based residential facilities, 39 residential care apartment complexes, 100 independent living facilities, and 446 community service programs which provide services ranging from Alzheimer's support, child day care, hospice and home care to Meals on Wheels. For more information, please contact the WAHSA staff at (608) 255-7060: John Sauer, Executive Director; Tom Ramsey, Director of Government Relations; or Brian Schoeneck, Financial Services Director.

WAHSA 204 South Hamilton Street Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608)255-7060 FAX:(608)255-7064