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Macy guides employers through changing landscape

James Macy (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

James Macy (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

There’s no such thing as one size fits all in employment law.

Depending on the number of employees, whether or not it’s a private or public sector job, and the presence of bargaining groups, the possibilities and results are endless, said James Macy, an attorney specializing in employment law with Davis & Kuelthau SC, in Oshkosh.

“No two days are the same,” he said.

Macy recently saw firsthand what a slow economy is doing to employers.

“A difficult economy is definitely a challenge and puts pressure on everyone,” he said. “Communication between employers and workers is essential.”

That communication most often is about how the economy is affecting the bottom line and what that may do to employee compensation. Contracts negotiated during a bustling economy, for example, might now need to be reworked.

And Act 10, which eliminated collective bargaining for most public sector employees in Wisconsin, has brought many changes. Since the controversial legislation was passed, Macy said, relationships have changed dramatically between teachers and school districts.

“The whole landscape of public law has seen significant change,” he said. “There’s a lot of transition going on with personnel policies.”

In particular, he said, the legislation increased competition for staff members.

“Competing for talent is something that’s new to the public sector,” he said. “For the best teachers and principals, we are writing some unique contracts that we haven’t seen before.”

In his practice, Macy represents employers ranging in size from the Oshkosh Corp. to small municipalities.

“There’s a lot of variety,” he said, “… and the variety has definitely grown in recent years.”

Wisconsin Law Journal: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
James Macy: Completing the adoption of my two sons from Russia.  It was a two-year process involving many documents and two trips to Russia.

WLJ: What career do you think you would have pursued if you hadn’t become an attorney?
Macy: I would have worked in recreation administration such as working for a YMCA.

WLJ: What was the first concert you attended?
Macy: It was a local community band concert coupled with a Christmas choir.

WLJ: What activity could you spend hours doing outside of work?
Macy: Working with kids’ sports programs

WLJ: What was your favorite childhood toy?
Macy: A Fisher Price circus

WLJ: Do you have a phrase or word that you tend to overuse?
Macy: ‘In terms of …’

WLJ: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Macy: Florida

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