Thursday, March 08, 2007

Collective Bargaining for us

Another anonymouse like myself (highcharge is the nickname) wrote with the suggestion that I mention the collective bargaining provision of the Governors budget. She has even provided links in the message:

Well Lake, aren't you going to say something about
the collective bargaining for UW system thing?
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=121929&ntpid=3

as far as I know, this is the same concept as floated in
in SB 452:
http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2005/data/SB452hst.html

I have been in favor of collective bargaining for faculty for a long time. (see my post from 2005)

The faculty voice in decision-making at UWO is weak, our pay is low, and we are systematically being replaced by part-timers and adjuncts. An actual union could only help on all of these fronts. TAUWP is a toothless tiger; we need something stronger to defend our interests.

It seems as though there is little debate about the issue at the moment. I hope it stays below the radar.

We can have a real conversation about the implications of organizing if we are actually give the right to do it.

4 comments:

lammers said...

I never used to be in favor of unionization for professionals of any sort. While it seemed appropriate for labor and the skilled trades, it seemed as though professionals were accorded enough courtesy and respect by their employers that it was unneccessary and could in fact be counter-productive to good relations.

Since coming to Wisconsin, however, the state legislature has done everything in its power to change my mind. I'm not so much talking about the lack of adequate funding as I am about *respect*. It galls me to no end to knock myself out, doing the best I can to educate our students and further knowledge, and to know that my ultimate employer, the State Legislature, disrespects me and my colleagues any time it looks like doing so will score political points. It's that lack of appreciation and respect that really angers me. If I thought a union would force them to respect us, I'd vote for it in a minute. If we have their respect, the funding will follow.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to think that "under the radar" is the way to go. But first of all the Gov put a reference to it in the budget, which is not a good place to hide things (although it is very very big). Steganography might work here :-) http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2007/data/SB-40.pdf

That is something I really don't understand, what is the (presumably beneficial) effect of having something mentioned in the budget? They'd still have to introduce the bill and hopefully pass it. So what did they get out of bringing it up in the budget ahead of time?

Anyway it's been under the radar for 30 years. And now it's on Nass' death ray-dar. As mentioned in the cap times article:
"Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, who heads the state Assembly's College and Universities Committee, said he would not support giving faculty the ability to do collective bargaining unless faculty gave up the right to tenure. "They should not have both," Nass said. "

It even further upsets me that one guy can presume to speak for the over 7,000 academic staff at UW Madison (and that's not including instructional academic staff).
"Read Gilgen, chair of the executive committee of the Academic Staff Assembly, said he and many others believe the proposal could damage academic staff in several ways."
This is a horrificly top down "governance system" and precisely why the staff in particular need to get collective bargaining to have a voice in the system. I note that the Capital Times did not include any comment from either union that exists for faculty and staff at UW Madison, UFAS
http://wi.aft.org/ufas/ and
WUU http://www.wuu.info/

The staff assembly is loaded with administrators who get brownie points for pushing the administration's platform. Unions restrict the influence of administrators, which is exactly why Mr. Gilgen is opposed to them and exactly why the rest of the staff should be in favor of unionization.

Also Suder is against it of course:
http://www.leadertelegram.com/story.asp?id=79540

Anonymous said...

When you said:
"TAUWP is a toothless tiger; we need something stronger to defend our interests."
I hope you meant 'toothless because of the lack of collective bargaining'. It is difficult for a union to have power without the legal status of being the bargaining agent. This is particularly because management will retaliate against any Union stewards, officers and spokespeople. Management may retaliate against members just for joining or encouraging others to join. I mention this because I really hope people are not thinking "we have a non-exclusive non-representative minority union currently and they have little power or influence" and assume that the problem is because "unions are powerless and they don't want to do anything for the rank and file". It is instead because the legal climate is so unfavorable to them without collective bargaining, combined with low membership. If collective bargaining were a choice the situation could greatly improve.

Anonymous said...

It's in the budget this time, because every other time when the bill was on its own, it got killed.

As for Nass, what an idiot. He criticizes the UW and doesn't know a thing about it, if he thinks that the faculty and academic staff who are denied collective bargaining have tenure. Most faculty and all academic staff do not have tenure.

Plus, the list is long of major campuses in this country that now have collective bargaining for faculty and academic staff and still have tenure for senior faculty.

And many of us who are denied collective bargaining rights supervise others teaching in the UW who have had them for more than 20 years now -- teaching assistants. So it's okay for the youngsters but not for the oldsters, their supervisors? How does that make sense in Nassworld?

By the way, what is the difference between the Wisconsin state legislature and the Iraqi parliament? Well, according to our president, one of the few benchmarks that the Iraqis have met is this: They passed a budget.