Thursday, May 07, 2009

Furloughs on the way!

Gov. Doyle just announced big new cuts to the state budget, including over 3 work weeks (16 days) of furloughs over the next 2 years.  

It is sort of a joke to call it a furlough, since it really is a temporary 3% pay cut.  I wonder if it won't be even bigger for us since technically we are paid on a 9 month schedule.  That means it could be almost 5% [updated from higher figures, because I did my math wrong].

He also is cancelling our small pay raise and raising health insurance premiums.   

There will most likely be bigger cuts in the overall budget too.

State revenue has dropped at a precipitous rate, they tell us, for 2009.

It is going to be an ugly couple of years around here.  


Anonymous said...

Does the furlough include our elected officials?

I see the retention of untenured faculty a real problem these coming years.

Anonymous said...

The furloughs are a real problem, but I'm even more concerned about these 5% across the board cuts that were mentioned. The 1% cut pretty much gutted our campus, so anything more and we might as well pack it in.

(nb: I am not at UW-Oshkosh, so your mileage may vary here).

Anonymous said...

Every time I turn around, the furloughs seem to get longer. Doyle's own press release has 8 days, the NW 16, and now you have "three weeks" (although you no doubt mean work-weeks).

Didn't you click on the link on your email?

While I have no doubt we are completely and totally boned, don't forget this must pass the legislature as well. There might be some hope, but I doubt it. Time to work on the ole cv...

Lake Winneblogo said...

You are right anonymous 4:48! I didn't do my math well today. It looks more like a 2 year 5% pay cut for us.

You know that they will furlough us during times when we are supposed to be doing research. They are not going to let us take a week and a half off during the semesters. Do you think they will reduce our research and service requirements by 5% too?

Anonymous said...

4:48 Here - Yup. 5% is about right.

And I think we all realize "furlough" is a euphemism for "same work, less pay." Rest assured, there will be no reduction in expectations for any aspect of your duties. If you're someone who teaches every day, as many of us do, which day will you be taking off? Answer: none.

On the other hand, -5% is a lot better than -100%, which more than a few of our brothers & sisters are facing. My primary objection is the farce that "it's not a pay-cut, it's a furlough." Call a spade a spade and get on with it.

On a tangential note, I am somewhat confused about what must be government math: a $5B deficit gets you a 1% reduction while an additional $1.5B in the hole gets you another 4%. What am I missing? Perhaps a colleague in business can explain this to me.

Anonymous said...

.....On the other hand, -5% is a lot better than -100%, which more than a few of our brothers & sisters are facing.

You are so right. Many others have lost their jobs completely.

.....My primary objection is the farce that "it's not a pay-cut, it's a furlough." Call a spade a spade and get on with it.

That's because of all the unions. They won't accept cuts or renegotiated compensation, so furloughs and layoffs are the only answer the state has.

In my opinion, it's about time the public sector starts to feel some of the pain the private sector has been living with for over a year. least you have jobs!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take all my furlough days during those three months each year I don't get paid, summer, but work a lot anyways. I don't see the logic in asking 75% employees (i.e. faculty on the nine month contract) to take the same number of furlough days as 100% employees (twelve months).

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:01, agreed completely. Maybe it's "hey, those suckers already work for free for 3 months/year, what's another 8 days"??

verreno said...

A furlough means something when you have a *job*. It's pretty meaningless when you have a *career*. (A career is something that belongs to YOU, irrespective of who signs your paycheck.)

I don't much like the deal, but the fact remains that I'm making more $ than I ever have in my life, and living in a far cheaper locale than I lived in before. Nothing will be repossessed, I'll not miss any meals.

This approach is a lot less painless for me than it could be. I'd rather lose a little $ than teach 15 SCH.

I just wish WE had a union, so WE could keep our promised 2% raise.

Labor Chicks said...

Just FYI, the furloughs do not have to be approved by the Legislature. The contracts for the represented employees include language that allows the Governor to furlough employees for up to 8 days using Administrative rule. That is how 8 days were arrived at. The same holds true for non-represented employees, it can be done by Administrative rule. The furloughs are 8 days each of the two fiscal years of the next budget, which starts on July 1. So, the total over the next two year is 16 days.

As far as the Legislators or Governor being furloughed, state law doesn't allow for it, so we hope to see some elected officials giving back some money--even if it is merely a token.

XBadger said...

I'd like to know what other people think about having to work on committees after the end of the nine-month contract. I've been very accommodating about doing it until now, but the lack of pay increase and new "furloughs" have made me rethink working for free.

How many other people here work after the school year ends for no compensation? Or does your department pay you for committee work during the summer?

Anonymous said...

XBadger, it's the same situation here. Any summer work is volunteer, unless someone actually has a teaching contract. In fact, most of us with kids are actually PAYING to work in summer--daycare costs, mostly. Hmmm. I wonder if those who tell us to look at what the situation is in the "real world" (aka non-academia) end up doing the same. Not being snarky, I would really like to know. Around here, it's the norm, but I've never heard of anyone outside of academia doing so...