12 September 2007

Glenn Grothman: wrong on denying workers rights to professionals

Hi folks,

Glenn thinks it's a bad idea to let UW faculty unionize.

Proposal allowing UW faculty to unionize draws fierce criticism - The Daily Cardinal

Republicans in the state Legislature have recently called on Democrats to remove a budget proposal that would give UW System faculty members the right to vote on collective bargaining.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, asked Democrats in the state Senate to eliminate the provision from its proposed budget.

Grothman said if UW professors unionize, it could make them “bitter, more expensive and monolithic.” He also said that professors’ unions could hold too much political sway.

“I think unions are more likely to give money to political candidates … they’d rather turn the university into a hotbed of partisan political activity,” Grothman said.


Josh Wescott, spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson, D-Beloit, said he did not express concern about any of the demands that the proposed union could make.

“This is about making sure we have the best and brightest minds here [in Wisconsin],” Westcott said, referring to the ability of the state to recruit and retain faculty.

Wescott also added that the proposals by Grothman are akin to slamming the doors on higher education and wrapping them in “barbed wire and electric fencing.”

The university administration is not taking a stance on the issue.

UW System spokesperson David Giroux said that the collective bargaining provision is an issue for faculty and staff to decide on, not administrators.

“They are all capable of being independent thinkers,” Giroux said. “They are capable of making the decision on their own.”

One thing Glenn got wrong here was about giving money to political candidates. Since he has conscientiously cut faculty benefits over the years while avoiding anything like a cost of living adjustment, none of us really has any money to give to political candidates in the first place.

The Greater Irony here is that Glenn's own votes are causing this drive toward unionization. Faculty don't care too much for the idea of a union. We like to think of ourselves as professionals and above the fray of money -- but when it happens, it'll happen for the same reason any other group unionizes: the failure of government to represent its interests.

It is easy to see that now-Senator Grothman has failed to represent the needs of UW faculty -- that's not a surprise. What is worse, but more telling, is that by continually gutting the university budgets he has shortsightedly failed to represent the long term interests of the people of Wisconsin who the university serves.


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