One of the chief concerns in the Overture negotiations is the future of the performance center's many city employees.
For instance, the proposed "public authority model," in which the city buys the building and leases it to a non-profit entity, such as the Madison Cultural Arts District (MCAD), which then receives city subsidies to maintain it. In that scenario, there would likely be 15 Overture employees who would become ineligible for the Wisconsin Retirement System.
The city could not carve out an exemption for those employees without changing state statutes. As Overture spokesman Rob Chappell told me, it's unlikely that the GOP legislature is going to be interested in addressing the concerns of 15 union workers.
Mayor Dave has suggested those workers either forfeit the retirement package or bump into another city job, where WRS benefits would apply.
What would be really interesting is if Madison went to the legislature now and asked the Democrats -- who are already under fire for convening a special session to ratify union contracts -- to push through yet another (very small) favor for public sector workers.
On a somewhat related note, it was ironic to see Doyle and Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman, who have been accused of being the pawns of "big labor," sitting in the front rows of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery opening yesterday as AFSCME workers protested. I wouldn't expect them to do differently, but there was something poetic about it nonetheless.