Wisconsin police pick pension or insurance

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state’s police union says local governments are blackmailing public safety workers into contributing to their pensions.

The union says municipalities are telling police and firefighters to pay into their pensions or face huge increases in their health care deductibles.

Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining law stripped almost all public workers of their union rights and required them to contribute more toward pensions and health insurance.

The law exempts public safety workers from those requirements, but a state budget clause forbids them from negotiating health care plan designs. City officials say they’re using that clause to create a level playing field between them and other public employees and make up for reductions in state aid.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association has challenged the clause before the state Employment Relations Commission.