Wisconsin Student Government Statement on Proposed Budget Repair BillIn response to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to eliminate government employee collective bargaining rights and requirements to contribute toward pensions and healthcare, the Wisconsin Student Government issued the following press release in support of technical college employees:
In response to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to eliminate government employee collective bargaining rights and requirements to contribute toward pensions and healthcare, the Wisconsin Student Government issued the following press release in support of technical college employees:
We the elected members of Wisconsin Student Government are well aware of the difficulties that the State of Wisconsin is facing with the projected deficit. The members of Wisconsin Student Government are sympathetic to the troubles facing the State Legislature, as well as the State Teachers’ Unions and other unions that work in the Wisconsin Technical College System. While we understand that fiscal responsibility needs to be a priority, we are concerned about the rights of our faculty and staff, and above all else the overall quality of the educational services provided.
“There is already a mechanism in place to limit spending by the Technical College System that has worked for over 50 years. I believe that administrators, as well as union officials want to work together in these difficult times. What is being proposed will just create animosity between the employer and the employees. The ones that will truly suffer will be the taxpayers in the classrooms,” said President Sarah Miller. “Currently the WTCS system has only four institutions that have reached the overall mill rate allowable by state law. Out of the four, two of them have a bond rating that is above the national average.”
“If this new proposal is put in place, I worry about the quality of our educators in the classroom. These are people that have already sacrificed a lot to be here to make sure we have the tools necessary when we get into the job market. We are already hearing of reports from instructors that have put in applications at other businesses and unfortunately other states. These are people who are fully trained on how to teach, and that is hard to come by. You may know somebody that can do a job in the field, but how well can he/she teach their experiences. Instructors also have spent years building relationships with local community businesses to make sure that what they are teaching works with the employers of the local communities and that our skill sets are up to par. They are able to adapt with the administration and the advisory committees to make sure that as the students get into the workforce prepared for their roles.
“We know that there are instructors that have taken teaching jobs in which they make in some cases $40,000-$60,000, less than they would in the private sector in fields such as technology and health care. These people are quality employees and that is why they have the potential of those wage earnings in the private sector. We appreciate that they have chosen to become instructors in the classrooms to make sure that the quality of the workforce is competitive in the domestic and global economy. No matter what side of the aisle of the debate you are on, when it comes to benefits and spending, can’t we at least agree that the conversation is an important one?”
We are urging the legislature of Wisconsin to allow the unions to keep working with the administrations of the WTCS in the form of collective bargaining. We ask that you allow the administration, as well as the unions, the ability to discuss the best ways to make sure the support and fiscal responsibility between both parties can be met. This would benefit in the economic recovery for the great State of Wisconsin.