The leaders of the Madison Area Technical College Part-Time Teachers' Union are proposing to dissolve the union, creating in its place a private corporation that would contract with the college to provide instructors and administrative functions.
The proposal is not gaining traction with MATC administrators, but it's an example of how unions are trying creative ways to stay relevant in a changing landscape.
A new state law limits collective bargaining for most public sector unions. Among other things, unions are now required to hold an annual recertification vote and win more than 51 percent of eligible voters — something few unions have chosen to do.
"The bar for certification is pretty unrealistic," said William Powell Jones, a UW-Madison history professor who studies labor unions. "I think it's really understandable that a bunch (of unions) are looking for other ways to maintain their power or maintain their membership."