Madison Office: 122 South, State Capitol  Phone: (608) 266-7745  E-mail: Sen.Harsdorf@legis.wi.gov

Democrats’ Budget May Force UW Staff Unionization

A budget provision added by Democrats, could force UW academic staff to be unionized without a vote. Governor Doyle’s budget contained a provision that would allow UW faculty and academic staff to form unions and collectively bargain. However, a vote would be required, as is typical in forming unions, before any UW faculty or staff would be made members of a union. The provision added by Legislative Democrats would allow the state’s Employment Relations Commission to consider petitions by existing unions that UW staff should be members of their union given their job duties. This provision could require UW staff to be members of unions without their input or even a vote.

I opposed the inclusion of non-fiscal policy items such as this in the budget. Regardless of one’s position on whether UW faculty and staff should be allowed to unionize, the rights of academic staff to vote on joining a union, rather than being forced to join through a bureaucratic process, should be a minimum requirement. Now, UW staff could be forced into unions with subsequent paycheck deductions.