Tuesday, July 03, 2007 

You got that, Asshole: Standing in solidarity with my fellow university employees

Below is a reprint from Fight Back! News, the paper printed by the folks at the http://www.frso.org Freedom Road. My personal allegiances aside, it points to a problem that's all too familiar to University employees.

Neo-liberalism has brought budget cuts and corporate style governance that continually reinforces austerity in terms of staffing, supplies and pay in the daily lives of hourly employees. It causalizes the professoriate by increasing the prevalence of adjunct faculty; workers paid barely $7.00 an hour, teaching between 1 and 5 classes with no job security beyond the semester they are contracted for. All the while, allowing for massive opulence at the top. Administrative salaries nation wide approach the $500,000 per year mark (with notably higher exceptions). Usually these pay packages also include public funded mansions in the local ruling class neighborhood, 5 figure expense accounts, cars, yearly 6 to 7 figure bonus packages, and even private airplanes.

Here's hoping that U of M gets reminder that these folks are "hard working tax paying people" who "don't take shit from no one."

U of M Workers Standing Up for Standard of Living (originally at Fight Back! news)
By Brad Sigal

Minneapolis, MN - Workers at the University of Minnesota are fighting for a wage increase. On June 13, members of U of M AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) packed the room and testified at the University on Minnesota Board of Regents public hearing on the budget. They told the regents that union members’ salaries have lost about 5% of their value compared to inflation since 1994. Meanwhile, the university president’s salary has gained almost 80% in value above the rate of inflation, and all other high-end administrators have also gained salary increases well over the rate of inflation.

AFSCME members and supporters then rallied on June 27 outside the Board of Regents meeting where the budget was voted on. They demanded that the regents allocate money for a serious wage increase for clerical, technical and health care workers, to reverse the trend of low-paid workers falling behind inflation while top administrators continue to get larger and larger increases.

Members of AFSCME began contract negotiations in late May. Clerical, technical and health care workers at the university are negotiating together in a unified negotiating committee for the first time. This unity is also visible in the workplace, where hundreds of workers from the various unions have come together in a series of lunchtime meetings to hear the union’s presentation on wage disparity at the University and to organize to change the situation.

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