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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 24, 2022

Martin, UW System announces support for union representation for academic employees

Chancellor Biddy Martin and UW System President Kevin Reilly announced their commitment to allow university employees to decide if they would like union representation.

""Although the unions have not yet officially sought to convert UW-Madison academic staff, at least one has announced its intention to do so,"" Martin said in a statement.

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Martin said she approves of giving academic staff the ability to join unions and engage in collective bargaining.  The UW System also supports employee rights to unionize, Reilly said.

""We did not oppose legislation, now in place, that lets Faculty and Academic Staff members bargain collectively,"" Reilly said in a statement.  ""We have not interfered with efforts to organize.""

Last year, four unions asked the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission for a ""unit clarification"" from unclassified Academic Staff to Classified service for 300 university employees, Reilly said in the statement.  The change in title would place the employees under union representation.

The UW System Board of Regents and the Wisconsin Office of State Employment Relations asked WERC to ignore the union's petitions because the Board of Regents believes they should have control over academic staff titles.  WERC decided to disregard the advice of the Board of Regents and the OSER.

Martin said her main concerns with changing the titles of academic staff are it would prevent the Board of Regents from deciding who is considered academic staff and it would revoke the ability for staff to choose if they want representation.

The ability for the nearly 20,000 state academic staff to engage in collective bargaining was granted by Gov. Jim Doyle in 2009.

Since then, academic staff at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Superior voted to unionize in May 2010.  UW-La Crosse has requested a vote on union representation to take place soon.

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