Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Goodbye Unionization for us!

The faculty union for California State System voted to give union leaders permission to call a strike today. They are striking over pay--especially since administrators have been giving themselves big raises as they claim a financial crisis.

I think this significantly lowers the chances of our right to unionize being approved by our own state legislature. If they settle before a strike, there might not be too much of an impact. Doyle will jettison us in a hurry if the union in California has success forcing the state to give them a reasonable pay increase.

It will also open the floodgates to the anti-faculty rhetoric from our favorite Republicans down in Madison.

Let's hope they reach a reasonable accomodation in California, which is what should happen anyway. You will note, however, that without a union and threat of a strike, the administration was content to keep reducing faculty pay and benefits.


lammers said...

Just a minor note. If I read that article right, it's not all state schools in California, e.g., Berkeley or UCLA. It's those that are campuses of California State University.

A 14% pay increase with more for merit sounds pretty good to me. Of course, with the cost of living most places in California, hard to say what they really means. After all, we spend dollars not percents. Our last little pay raise put a lot more dollars in my pocket than the 6% raise I got 15 years ago when I just starting out.

Hard to say how this will affect our chances of unionization.

Anonymous said...

If you need a union to bargain on your behalf you probably aren't worth very much in an open market. Perhaps you should have considered the pay range of lecturers and professors in Wisconsin prior to going after that kind of training or before moving here.

Anonymous said...

"It will also open the floodgates to the anti-faculty rhetoric from our favorite Republicans down in Madison."

Don't assume that the detractors of the UW System in Madison are all Republicans. I know a multiple term State Representitive that is a fervent Democrat that is not a supporter of the UW System. I doubt the low opinion of the UW System is confined to one ideology.

The sad part of the entire situation is that UW System Administration in Madison has done nothing to attempt to better the image, like admitting mistakes (i.e. the Lawson payroll and benefit software debacle), and continues to make decisions and statements that have alienated the UW System (and it's employees) from the taxpayer... and their elected representitives.

Frank J Doster said...

I think if the profs want to get organized A good starting point would be to show some support to the local union on campus. You know the union that i am talking about, they represent the invisible people who maintain the campus. I have very little empathy for a group of so called educated people which as a demographic have done very little to improve the sate of labor in the U.S and the world. I might go so far as to say that you train the people which later oppress the class of which you are beginning to find yourself part of.
If most managers, ceo's and others in power have university degrees, does it not follow that those who work in said institutions are responsible. I have been a student here four years and have not heard a single prof or fellow student stick up for working people. Its funny how i can get a Poly sci degree and yet have never heard the most powerful institutions in the world discussed critically-corporations.

David Siemers said...

I don't have any idea what political science classes Frank is taking, but I know that if he took American Politics, Congress, Community Power Systems, and a number of other courses the subject of the connection between money and politics is raised.

I do have a suggestion for Frank and others: go to the forum co-sponsored by the Political Science Student Association and other groups coming up this Thursday from 7-9 in the Union called "Women, Money, and Politics: Who's Winning?"

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You tell him Dr Siemers!!And it is not just your classes that look at these issues.

fluff said...

I dont see why you think this particular strike is such a problem. Because of the timing?

UW faculty and staff cannot strike legally now and couldn't strike legally under the proposed collective bargaining bill either.

The california school is not one of the 12 big ten schools thankfully.

However it is quite true that UW and it's enemies pick its peers to suit the situation.

Lake Winneblogo said...

Just so you know -- I deleted a gratuitous personal attack.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

that is a very serious charge, What evidence do you have?

if you have evidence that a pofessor is biased there is a complaint proceedure and you should use it. If you don't have evidence then its just a bogus complaint.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I removed another comment, apparently from the same poster. He made a more specific, unsubstantiated attack.

If you want to say snarky things about your instructors, go to That's what that site is all about.

Here, we were trying to discuss unionization and campus politics.

Ad hominem attacks do not further the discussion. If you disagree with an argument, address the argument.

Anonymous said...

The worst opposition is coming from the associations such as ASPRO:

Note how they frame the argument over the mythical linking of the faculty and academic staff:

"Since the creation of the UW System, academic staff and faculty have always been on equal
footing with regard to annual compensation increases and employment benefits"

They left out job security to name one big issue in the "equal footing". Academic staff have nothing remotely approaching the job security that the tenured faculty have. Academic staff can just be laid off or terminated at any time due to a "program or policy decision" or just running out of money. There are no transfer rights, no way to be rehired or recalled. There is little or no benefit of seniority. Management would like to replace career employees with bright shiny new faces that just got their degrees.

The reality for academic staff is that if they really hit it off with management extremely well, and that group does well financially, there's a lot of discretion in wages and titles and so forth, that's true. People can rise to some very well-compensated positions. But should anything go wrong, like a management change, what went up could just go out the door. And most academic staff are not world class schmoozers so their progress can be middling. For them, the majority, collective bargaining would be a very very good idea.

Anonymous said...

So it's OK for you to make anonymous personal attacks on people and their character but no one else can do it?

Anonymous said...

Thomas Paine says

Winneblogo does not engage in attacks on the character of others. You do. You have a case to make, then take it to the appropriate grievance committee and present your evidence. If you don't have evidence then take your semar coampaign somewhere else

fluff said...

Speaking of smears, I am deeply disturbed over Aspro's ever increasing opposition to collective bargaining.
(And what statute or policy exactly endowed ASPRO with the exclusive rights to "lobbying" for academic staff? How come they got that with no voting from the alleged representees whereas bona fide labor unions are legally prohibited from exclusive representation of the academic staff? That really doesn't seem right! If ASPRO is lobbying for salary and benefits and claiming exclusive representation of the staff then are they not in actuality a labor union in defiance of the current statutes against labor unions for
the staff (and the faculty)?
But I also don't think the minority unions UFAS and TAUWP taking the 10,000 foot erspective,
"it's just about choice" is particularly effective because the opposition has entrenched on preventing the faculty and staff from even trying to bring in unionization by micro quibbling over "what if they got collective bargaining units established".
I don't think Walmart would put up more of a battle over the potential of unionization than these lobbying outfits have done in UW.

What would an expert rhetorics person say in a situation like this?