Welcome to the UW Oshkosh Chapter of The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals
AFT President Urges New Era Of Grassroots Activism
TAUWP Member Benefits
System Budget Page
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Local Officers for 2006-2007:
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Who We Are
The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals is a statewide local of the Wisconsin Federation of Teachers. Our members are faculty and academic staff on each UW campus except UW Madison. We are advocates for professional and issues of importance to UW faculty and academic staff. TAUWP lobbies hard to improve compensation for teaching faculty and academic staff. Most recently, we have successfully litigated assaults on faculty and academic staff governance rights.
TAUWP uses the collective power of our members to insure that your points of view and needs are heard by the Governor, the Legislature, the UW Board of Regents, and System and campus administrations. We are member-run and member-funded. Our strength and effectiveness is directly related to the support of faculty and academic staff like you. We need your support. Please join your peers and colleagues by becoming a TAUWP member today. Simply e-mail any of the officers listed above and we will send you a membership form.
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What TAUWP Has Done For You: A Brief Review
*FACULTY AND ACADEMIC STAFF SALARIES
TAUWP has labored tirelessly for salary increases and for a fair distribution system. We have advocated a salary schedule to provide both predictability and progression in salaries over one's career. In 1993, TAUWP saved 0.5% on the salary base so that all future raises are larger and have the power of accumulation. In addition, TAUWP's efforts added $500 to $600 to the average salary in 1992-1993. In 1999, TAUWP was successful in motivating the majority of Faculty Senates in the System to oppose the "Madison Initiative" and support fair salary increases for all System schools. Earlier, TAUWP fought successfully to more than double the catch-up originally planned for the University Cluster and also the Centers.
Recently, TAUWP successfully challenged the Board of Regents in court to reaffirm governance rights in personnel issues. One result of the Spoto v. BOR et al was recognition of the faculty role of primary responsibility for setting merit pay distribution guidelines. Another direct result of TAUWP's court battle was the holding of a system wide conference on governance. On our own campus, TAUWP members have worked hard to strengthen faculty power in a number of areas such as:
TAUWP has fought for improvements in retirement benefits for decades. We were primarily responsible for the current 1.6 formula factor. We obtained the spousal sign-off on benefits to protect spouses from unwise decisions of active employees who were retiring. We were deeply involved in 1988-1989 in the early retirement bill which significantly reduced penalties and provided for significant benefits. In 1991, TAUWP was the leader in restoring retirement credit to some pre-1966 faculty who had been denied it due to a technicality in the system. In 1997, TAUWP lobbied hard to help pass Wisconsin Act 58; the Act lowered the age for granting special active employe WRS death benefits from 60 to 55. TAUWP is currently striving to improve the formula factor and will continue to advocate for fair and just retirement benefits.
TAUWP originated the effort to obtain a sabbatical leave program in the 1970s. The original barebones program has been steadily improved over the years due to TAUWP's efforts. TAUWP is still engaged in efforts to improve the plan. Clearly, the plan needs more funding so that more individuals can take advantage of the program to improve their instruction.
*GAG RULE, ACADEMIC FREEDOM, OPEN RECORDS, AND LOBBYING
TAUWP has fought to protect the rights of faculty and academic staff to speak openly and to have the rights associated with academic freedom and the First Amendment. Access to records has been zealously advocated by TAUWP. Access to legislators and Legislative Committees has also been strongly promoted by TAUWP. In 1994, the Gag Rule was declared unconstitutional.
TAUWP has addressed the Regents on this issue. TAUWP has stressed both the need to protect the rights of alleged victims to bring forward a complaint and the rights of the accused to a fair and impartial hearing on the charges. Specifically questioned were:
The goal we seek is the eradication of sexual harassment on our campuses.
WFT TAUWP legal counsel has been deeply involved in numerous cases dealing with tenure, promotion, salary, retention, working conditions, and grievances and complaints. Richard Schauer and Ed Muzik, at the state level, and Barbara Sniffen and James Simmons locally, have given advice to hundreds of TAUWP members to insure the protection of their procedural rights: the appropriate standards of evaluation in retention, promotions, and salary decisions; and the protection of faculty and academic staff from discrimination on the basis of race and gender.
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What You Get: TAUWP/AFT/WFT Membership Benefits
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Special Benefit For UW Oshkosh Members:
The majority of UW Oshkosh TAUWP members have been through the often stressful processes of renewal, tenure, promotion, merit, and other personnel matters. As a result, we think we have a good idea of how to prepare for and deal with these matters. Join the UW Oshkosh TAUWP chapter and we can schedule meetings with you to discuss:
We will also gladly review your file materials for you and provide feedback.
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How To Join
Joining TAUWP is simple. All you need to do is fill out a membership form that can be obtained from any of our officers. Dues are based on your academic year salary. Annual dues are .008 times your academic year salary, payable in nine equal installments or in one lump sum. Maximum dues are $348.00.
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Chancellor Rick Wells was the featured guest at the November 15 meeting of the UW Oshkosh TAUWP chapter. Dr. Wells has articulated a vision of UW Oshkosh as a "responsive and progressive public service institution." At the November 15 meeting, TAUWP members asked him whether he considered faculty collective bargaining rights to be part of that vision.
Chancellor Wells said he opposes collective bargaining for UW faculty for 2 major reasons. First, he believes that the UW has a strong system of shared governance in place, and that collective bargaining might weaken that system and produce weak Faculty Senates. Second, his experience with collective bargaining at a campus in Pennsylvania was mixed. The experience did not convince him that bargaining rights necessarily produced better workplace conditions for faculty. As a result, the Chancellor said that he does not plan to identify collective bargaining rights for faculty as an element of what he means by UW Oshkosh being a "progressive" institution.
A lively conversation followed the Chancellor's articulation of his views on collective bargaining. Several members present argued that the UW shared governance system is not as strong as it may seem on paper, citing as an example the fact that there is currently in place no mechanism to resolve conflicts between Faculty leadership and the Chancellor. Others claimed that while shared governance requires that all levels of authority respect and apply campus rules fairly and consistently, we have in place no effective enforcement mechanism to see to it that such rules actually get followed. In response, the Chancellor agreed that some kind of "conference committee" to resolve disputes between shared governance levels might be a good idea, though he was not sure that the recently created "U-Plan" Committee was the best vehicle for that.
The Chancellor was asked what kind of relationship he would like to have with TAUWP. It was explained to him that previous Chancellors have tended to either ignore the organization or treat it with contempt, largely because they have interpreted our advocacy and watchdog activities as unnecessarily confrontational and/or non-collegial. Dr. Wells said that it is his intention to listen to all campus organizations, including TAUWP. He said he would be willing to attend future meetings, as well as invite TAUWP representatives to participate in campus forums that deal especially (though not exclusively) with issues of concern to union members.
Overall, the meeting with the Chancellor was a healthy one. The approximately 15 TAUWP members in attendance were a very diverse and multicultural group that included men and women, tenured and non-tenured faculty, senior and new faculty, and a variety of academic disciplines. The Chancellor had to be impressed with the group's passionate commitment to education and to UW Oshkosh.
Our next meeting will be on Thursday, December 6. More details will follow.
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We face a crisis, for in firing a tenured professor, the Board of Regents dispensed with the tenets of due process of law and adopted a standard for dismissal that effectively ends the system of tenure. I’m asking you to demand that this action be reversed..
In May 1999, the Chancellor at UW-Superior filed dismissal charges against John Marder, an associate professor in the Communicating Arts Department. Although the administrative code requires the chancellor to conduct an investigation to determine if probable cause exists before bringing dismissal charges, he failed to do so. UW-Superior’s Committee on Faculty Terminations heard the case and in April 2000 unanimously decided that there was no reason for discipline or dismissal based upon any of the charges, and it criticized the Chancellor for bringing unfounded charges to the Committee. The Chancellor then appealed to the Board of Regents. In November, the Personnel Matters Review Committee, a standing committee of the Board, refused to recommend dismissal; instead it chided the prosecution for failing to submit evidence and testimony upon many of the charges.
Undeterred, the Chancellor continued to press for Marder’s dismissal. The Review Committee reconsidered the case in March but voted to discontinue the dismissal case. Taking up the issue once again in May, the Committee once again refused to recommend dismissal. The Regents have refused to make public the Committee’s findings of fact–something that is required by law.
Notwithstanding the fact that four times committees have failed to recommend dismissal, the Regents decided on June 8, by a vote of 11 to 3, to dismiss Marder. In that closed-door session, the Chancellor was permitted to give a speech in favor of dismissal, while Marder’s lawyer was not permitted to address the board. Nor did the Board, in making their decision, consult with the Faculty Terminations Committee, as is required by law. The three negative votes came from those who are members of the Review committee–the only Regents who ever examined any evidence.
I have not dwelled on the details of the allegations against John Marder because they are not germane. Yes, some people at Superior have told me that he is a scoundrel; others have told me that he is completely innocent and is the victim of intradepartmental squabbles; some have said that although they lack evidence, they just “feel” that he is guilty. If we are nation governed by law, however, allegations alone are not tantamount to guilt. In the end, this issue is not about John Marder; it is about due process and ultimately about tenure.
Three weeks after firing Marder, the Board published their rationale for doing so. They rehearsed the allegations, some of which had not even been pursued by the Chancellor when he first appealed to the Regents, and then, citing the case of Safransky v. The Personnel Board, they argued that just cause for dismissal of a tenured employee can be established if "some deficiency has been demonstrated which can reasonably be said to have a tendency to impair his performance of the duties of his position or the efficiency of the group with which he works."
What constitutes deficiency, tendency, efficiency, and the group with which one works, are of course, in the eyes of the beholder. I have pointed out elsewhere the details of the Safransky case, of how a man who worked in an institution without any governance structure was fired for being openly gay. Since 1974, when that case was heard, it has become illegal to discriminate on that basis. But under the broad standard for dismissal enunciated by the Board, anyone can be fired on an otherwise illegal basis (such as race, gender, religion, gender orientation, or ethnicity) if some pretext can be cooked up to justify it. A person could be fired on the basis of her politics, if the Regents decided that it threatened the system’s efficiency.
Moreover, although the Regents have cited Safransky, the just cause standard was actually first enunciated in an earlier case, Gudlin v. the City Commission (1965), and then reaffirmed in Safransky. And that earlier case, which established this precedent, is instructive and relevant. Briefly, Gudlin was a water tradesmen who worked for the city of West Allis and moonlighted as a bartender. One night at the tavern where he worked, words were exchanged between Gudlin and the police, and Gudlin was given a couple of disorderly conduct citations. He plead guilty, was fined $60, and then was fired by West Allis for conduct unbecoming of a city employee.
When you look at the application of the just cause standard in these two cases, and you look
at the high handed action of the Regents, in disregarding faculty governance procedures in
the Marder case, it becomes very frightening to ponder what the future holds. Quite simply,
if this standard is upheld, any trivial action on campus that someone considers offensive, or any minor infraction of law off-campus–even one that does not affect a person’s performance on the job, can be considered grounds for dismissal, and grounds for dismissal by the Regents regardless of what any faculty committee or any committee charged with examining the actual evidence concludes.
This means that Jay Moore could be fired for giving us, as he often does, his thoughtful ruminations about administrative encroachment upon faculty rights; it means that if Bill Holohan gets a couple of traffic tickets, he can be fired; it means that Lex Renda can be fired for, well, just for being Lex Renda; and it means that Nancy Zimpher could be fired from her tenured position should she use the incorrect protocol in addressing these high and mighty regents. If this sounds implausible, then I suggest you look at the Board’s March minutes, in which one regent complained that Marder had publicly expressed the opinion that the Chancellor had been negligent and wondered whether action might be taken against Marder on that basis.
On the one level, none of this should surprise us. Regents are, by and large, wealthy people chosen mainly because they contribute money to political campaigns; they are not chosen based on any academic qualifications or on the basis of any commitment to the time-honored values of universities. For them, tenure is an inconvenient nuisance that impedes their efforts to run universities on a corporate model.
I can not say what action will be necessary if the Board refuses to reverse its decision. Marder is of course, pursuing his own legal challenge. But I can say that it is imperative that we send a message. By voting in favor of this resolution, you proclaim that we are men and women, scholars and teachers, of a free academic community--and that we are not serfs of the Board of Regents.
I Thank you. Lex Renda
Lex Renda Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Department of History University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee P.O. Box 413 Milwaukee, Wi. 53201 E-Mail: email@example.com Website: <http://www.uwm.edu/~renlex>http://www.uwm.edu/~renlex Office Phone: 414/229-5211 Office Fax: 414/229-2435 Home Phone: 414/228-6367 Office: Holton Hall 345
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Senator Schultz, seven co-sponsors introduces SB 452
AFT-Wisconsin Press Release
November 30, 2005
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Senator Schultz Introduces SB 452 to
Empower UW Faculty and Academic Staff
AFT-Wisconsin praises bi-partisan effort to reform UW System
MADISON, Wis. - In a decisive move, Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) has introduced SB 452. This legislation would allow the approximately 17,000 faculty and academic staff employed across the University of Wisconsin (UW) System the right to bargain collectively with the University. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Higher Education and Tourism.
AFT-Wisconsin Vice President for Higher Education, Ray Spoto, welcomes Senator Schultz's leadership and observes, "This legislation is long overdue and offers a solution to UW System Administration's problems." Spoto continues, "That's why it's vital to the future of public higher education for students in Wisconsin for faculty and academic staff to have the right to stronger, significant voices."
AFT-Wisconsin president Andy Gussert applauds Senator Schultz and the bill's initial co-sponsors: Senator Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse), Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah), Representatives Stephen Freese (R-Dodgeville), Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), Andy Lamb (R-Menomonie), Brett Davis (R-Oregon) and Barbara Gronemus (D-Whitehall). "The right to collectively bargain is available to almost everyone in Wisconsin's private and public sectors, including instructors and staff in the Wisconsin Technical College System," explained Gussert, who also works as a lecturer for UW-Madison. "Additionally, each of Wisconsin's four neighboring states allows faculty and professional staff at four-year public universities the right to bargain collectively. SB 452 would give UW faculty and academic staff more direct authority over their working conditions, which are ultimately the classroom and learning conditions for students."
State law presently does not allow UW faculty and academic staff the right
to decide in favor of or against collective bargaining. SB 452 would remedy
this discrepancy, and as Senator Schultz has stated, "help level the playing
field" between the UW System Administration and the system's 17,000 faculty
and academic staff.
Across the UW System, 14 of 15 UW faculty senates have adopted resolutions requesting the Legislature extend this basic right. UW-Madison's faculty senate has not adopted such a resolution; however, in May 2005, Madison's senate supported the inclusion of several principles that are each incorporated in SB 452.
Come to the TAUWP End of Semester Social!
On Friday, May 5th from 3-5 p.m. TAUWP will host an end of semester social at the Multicultural Education Center. All members of the UW Oshkosh community are invited. You need not be a member of TAUWP! Stop by for some great conversation in an historic campus building. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Tony Palmeri (424-7045 Palmeri@uwosh.edu)
This page is edited by Tony Palmeri.
Date of last update: January 5, 2007