Monday, February 23, 2009

Collective Bargaining in Guv's Budget Bill

Well as we suspected, Governor Doyle included language in his state budget that would allow faculty and academic staff to unionize and collectively bargain. As you might know our senate has long opposed any decoupling of faculty and academic staff pay plans, and so before the budget was introduced we passed a resolution opposing any bill that started with faculty and academic staff seperate.

Well, the language is even worse than we could have imagined. Not only does it start with seperate bargaining units (up to 6 in all, 1 for Faculty at Madison, 1 for Faculty at Milwaukee, 1 for Faculty at the other campuses, 1 for AS at Madison, 1 for AS at Milwaukee, and 1 for the rest of us AS), but it strictly forbids any faculty and academic staff units from combining.

We encourage you to make your voice hear with your legislators (of course you'll want to contact them from your own personal phone or email) and let them know if you are also concerned about this langauge that is grossly unfair to academic staff in the UW System!

Following is the language of our most senate recent resolution:

University of Wisconsin-Stout Senate of Academic Staff Resolution
Opposing any Collective Bargaining or Enabling Legislation
Language Where Academic Staff and Faculty are Separated

WHEREAS, the UW-Stout Senate of Academic Staff has long opposed the decoupling of faculty and academic staff benefits and compensation plans; and

WHEREAS, as recently as September 4, 2007 the UW-Stout Senate of Academic Staff unanimously adopted a resolution stating, “while we would not be opposed to the right to choose to collectively bargain, we will continue to oppose any bill including collective bargaining bills that would separate faculty and academic staff pay and benefit plans and thereby treat the 11,000 academic staff in the UW System unfairly and inequitably;” and

WHEREAS, legislation enabling collective bargaining for the UW System academic staff and faculty continues to be introduced that would create separate collective bargaining units for the academic staff and faculty on each campus; and

WHEREAS, separate collective bargaining units for the academic staff and faculty will place academic staff and faculty in competition for salary and fringe benefits; and

WHEREAS, any collective bargaining scheme that establishes separate academic staff and faculty bargaining units on each campus places the faculty at Madison and Milwaukee in the best position to demand and receive the majority share of limited state compensation dollars approved by the Legislature. Faculty at the comprehensive campuses would be in the next best position to compete for the remaining limited resources, placing academic staff in a position to settle unfairly for what, if anything, remains; and

WHEREAS, any legislative proposal that starts with separate academic staff and faculty collective bargaining units but offers a mechanism which allows for combining the two units if both agree does not guarantee, and only provides false hope, that the faculty would ever seriously chose fairness over self-interest and permit the units to combine; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate of Academic Staff at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, strongly opposes any legislative proposals, now and in the future, that would grant collective bargaining rights to University of Wisconsin System academic staff and faculty that would establish an academic staff collective bargaining unit separate from the faculty collective bargaining unit.

Unanimously adopted at the February 11, 2009 business meeting of the Senate of Academic Staff

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Report to the Foundation Board

Following is a report I submitted to the Foundation Board which will be meeting this weekend. It sums up what we have been working on in the Senate lately:

Greetings from the Senate of Academic Staff! Our senate has been very involved on campus again this year. Following are some of the items we have been working on:

  • Reviewing the draft mission, vision, and values statements for the university.
  • Working on a recommendation to provide more contract security for primarily teaching academic staff who have been at Stout many years.
  • Approving appointments to campus committees
  • Revising our academic staff personnel committee bylaws

We’ve also heard numerous reports on various topics including: Job Satisfaction Study, Salary Equity Study, Suitcase campus report (which basically says we are no more of a suitcase campus than any other campus in the UW), Annual Teaching Workload, Equity Scorecard Project, UCLA Faculty Study, Alumni Follow-Up Survey, StoutMedia Student Organization, to name a few.

The big impact item we are anxiously awaiting is the Governor’s budget address which is scheduled for next week. We are bracing to see what impact this will have on our campus and hoping the Governor will realize the importance of the university system as a priority in assisting the state in quickly resolving our economic crisis.

I understand you will be having several board members using technology to connect to campus and your meeting on Saturday. It should be an interesting test of the technology we regularly use for our distance education students. I hope you have a productive meeting and look forward, as always, to visiting with those of you who will be traveling to our beautiful campus!

Dennis Shaw, Chair
Senate of Academic Staff