The Wisconsin Union has more LTE’s as a percentage of the work force than any employing unit on campus, with over 151 LTE’s and only 135 Classified employees (LTE figures were provided by the LTE Collaboration Group chaired by Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell). Permanent work has been done by “temporary” workers at the student unions for years, and the Wisconsin Union administration undercut the University’s one attempt at LTE reform six years ago.
State legislators passed legislation in 2000 that gave the University authority to convert 50 LTE workers to classified, union represented workers. This victory came about through the combined efforts of campus unions and labor supporters, and was seen as a pilot project that would be expanded in the future.
We’re still waiting for the expansion of LTE reform. The pilot project was a success in all employing units but one. Half a dozen employing units took the opportunity to increase their permanent staff. The Wisconsin Union took the opportunity to undercut the LTE reform legislation.
None of the employing units were forced to take any of the fifty positions to be converted from LTE to permanent jobs. The Wisconsin Unions took four positions, and four long term LTE’s – among more than 150 – were converted to classified employees. Their wages went up about $5,000 a year and they started to earn benefits.
The Wisconsin Union administration then undercut this step forward by not filling other positions that became vacant, while continuing to hire LTE’s. While the individual workers who where hired for the converted position benefited, nothing was done to increase the number of workers making a living wage and benefits at the Wisconsin Unions.
In fact, the Wisconsin Union has continued to hire LTE’s while leaving permanent jobs vacant. There are currently 18 union represented jobs at the Wisconsin Union that go unfilled, while 151 “temporary” workers are employed. The Wisconsin Union administration now says that they will be asking to add 18 classified jobs in the next budget, but can’t explain why they don’t just fill the vacant jobs.
The Wisconsin Union, like UW Madison as a whole, has never acted in good faith with the unions on campus. We’ve seen union represented jobs left unfilled while administrators received pay increases of more that 20%. The administration never paid any attention to LTE’s except as a PR problem. If students vote to raise seg fees $192 to pay for the renovation of the Memorial Union, they can go back to ignoring the LTE's. Don't reward a poverty wage employer by voting to give them more seg fees. Vote against funding the Wisconsin Union Master Plan. Vote No!