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UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

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UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Beaver » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Interesting article. Doesn't sound good for UW employees.

http://www.isthmus.com/daily/article.ph ... c3b1b1ab2f
New UW-Madison personnel policies use Gov. Walker's 'tools' against employees

"Walker is fond of saying that he gave local and state managers a "toolkit" to better manage their operations. The toolkit was, of course, the elimination of collective bargaining. This, in turn, would kill unions. Public institutions could use the toolkit and end the union contracts, or they could continue to treat employees as true stakeholders in the institutions in which they serve. To the surprise and dismay of thousands of UW employees, that bastion of the liberal ideal on Bascom Hill has opted to make full use of Walker's toolkit."
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby pjbogart » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:45 pm

Well, let's take a look in this toolbox. Anything for removing tenured law professors?
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:10 am

The personnel plan released last month abolishes the rights of employees represented by its unions: job security by seniority in the event of a layoff, preference in hiring for new jobs or transfers to a new shift, and the right to a hearing before an impartial arbitrator in the event of a dispute.
Hah, "rights". All these would be fine as terms in a contractual agreement, but these are hardly universal rights.
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Mean Scenester » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:07 am

Who said anything about "universal," Bandini? The whole point is that those rights were once provided under the union contracts. You know, as in "contractual agreements."

Try to keep up, huh?
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Detritus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:57 am

Both Ahrens's piece and the State Journal piece are confused, or at least confusing. The key issue is the current set of "job titles and compensation structures," which have already created significant disparities in wages and benefits between individuals doing the same work under different classifications. You can go onto the UW website if you want to see how complicated things have gotten with classified, "non-represented," faculty & academic staff, clinical faculty, undergraduate hourly, graduate hourly, graduate TA/PA/RA, and limited term employees. And I probably missing a category. Within the categories you have hundreds of job titles, some very specific and some extremely vague, and then a set of "prefixes" that are supposed to represent some notion of skill and responsibility level.

The second issue is "bumping" within the State classified system, which is poorly described in the two pieces--a classified worker's right to make a lateral move anywhere within the State system if their position ends or is downgraded, thereby pushing another worker out of their job. Bumping was probably instituting as a way of protecting senior employees from being kicked out of the system just as they get expensive or in retaliation for other issues, but allowing the workers to jump all over the state system is not good for the organizations. It prevents managers from controlling who they manage, and in several cases I have seen leads to two phenomena: incompetent or combative workers who move from position to position, leaving a trail of wreckage in their wake, and workers transferring into areas they know nothing about, pushing out someone who was already knowledgeable and comfortable with the area. I know a lot of people think that bureaucrats are bureaucrats, but pushing paper as a fiscal clerk in the DMV and pushing paper as a fiscal clerk in a UW department have very little in common.

The third issue is pay and benefits equity, both within the current system and between the UW and other organizations. With the UW, it is not uncommon for two people sitting side-by-side doing the same jobs to have different pay, different benefits, and even different payroll departments just because they have different job titles, often as a result of being hiring at slightly different times. Faculty and academic staff already have significant problems with "compression," the fact that new hires get more money than existing employees did when they were hired, but there have been no raises for 5-6 years. Some parts of the UW are trying to address this, but there isn't enough flex in the budget to correct the inequities for more than about 1/3 of the employees.

And I'm not sure what the WSJ article means when it says the plan would extend the merit-pay system to faculty and staff--there is such a system in place already. It's just never used anymore. We used to go through an annual "merit pay exercise" in which we figured out how much merit pay each staff member would theoretically received. They don't even bother pretending there will be merit pay increases anymore; there haven't been any increases since about 2007.
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:22 am

Detritus wrote:Both Ahrens's piece and the State Journal piece are confused, or at least confusing.


I agree. The problem I have with Ahrens's piece is that it IS an opinion piece. It is his opinion of how things will work. The one thing I will say is that the UW went through a lengthy process and tried to get as much feedback as possible. I do think the system was broken and needs to be simplified. I've tried to read through it all, but it is tedious.

Detritus wrote:They don't even bother pretending there will be merit pay increases anymore; there haven't been any increases since about 2007.


From what I understand, and maybe I'm incorrect, this new system will give more authority for the UW to control its wage increases. Merit increases have been a joke for many years even before '07. The disparity with which departments are allotted money for these increases has little rhyme or reason. Putting huge sums of money aside for retaining top notch professors is necessary, but there are many top notch academic staff and classified employees who are often treated as "the help." I know a handful of departments who would be screwed(and have been) if these people left. Sure, the beat goes on and the departments survive, but if you've ever witnessed the inner workings of those departments, it's a mess.
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:36 am

Mean Scenester wrote:Who said anything about "universal," Bandini? The whole point is that those rights were once provided under the union contracts. You know, as in "contractual agreements."

Try to keep up, huh?
Sure, but contracts like these are renewed and revised periodically. Terms agreed upon during one contract expire when that contract expires.

In my opinion, the statement "universal rights" is redundant - any right should also necessarily be universal, or else it is not a legitimate right.
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Detritus » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:02 am

ArturoBandini wrote:In my opinion, the statement "universal rights" is redundant - any right should also necessarily be universal, or else it is not a legitimate right.

That's nice. Do you have anything to say that actually relates to the topic of this thread?
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby rabble » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:12 am

"As a member of this club, you have the right to call an assembly when you deem it to be appropriate."

"Hey there, wait a minute. That right to call an assembly is supposed to be universal! It's not legitimate!"

"Oooookay. Um, here's your membership fee and this month's dues back. We've decided our club isn't a good fit for you."
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:21 am

rabble wrote:"As a member of this club, you have the right to call an assembly when you deem it to be appropriate."

"Hey there, wait a minute. That right to call an assembly is supposed to be universal! It's not legitimate!"

"Oooookay. Um, here's your membership fee and this month's dues back. We've decided our club isn't a good fit for you."

This example is a completely legitimate exercise of freedom of association. Good work.
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:26 am

Detritus wrote:That's nice. Do you have anything to say that actually relates to the topic of this thread?
My first post was a response to a quote from the original posted article.

More broadly, the UW administration should have flexibility to make its own decisions about staff, hiring, firing, wage scales, benefits, and retirement matters. No external authority or externally-imposed contractual terms need apply, which means collective bargaining "rights" need not be imposed by the state or anyone else. I'm fine with unions proposing these as terms in a contract renewal, but that doesn't mean the counter-party must accept them.
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Beaver » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:37 pm

I think much of the fuss about UW is their proposed new Human Resources System (HRS) changes. I tried reading this to figure it out but it was confusing and seemed very vague for details. Reads like a bunch of administrative b.s.

Why was there a state statutory change that requires UW to create its own personnel system? Doesn't seem needed.

http://hrdesign.wisc.edu/wp-content/upl ... plaN11.pdf

"We are pleased to present the HR Design strategic plan for a new University of Wisconsin–Madison Human
Resources System. In response to state statutory changes that require our university to create its own personnel
system, we charged the Office of Human Resources (OHR) with developing a plan to do so. This document is a
key milestone in the project. It presents the components of an overall roadmap for sustaining and enhancing the
university’s ability to attract, develop, retain and advance the talented people who make UW–Madison one of
the world’s preeminent institutions of higher education."
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby barney » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:42 pm

Beaver wrote:I think much of the fuss about UW is their proposed new Human Resources System (HRS) changes. I tried reading this to figure it out but it was confusing and seemed very vague for details. Reads like a bunch of administrative b.s.

Why was there a state statutory change that requires UW to create its own personnel system? Doesn't seem needed.

http://hrdesign.wisc.edu/wp-content/upl ... plaN11.pdf

"We are pleased to present the HR Design strategic plan for a new University of Wisconsin–Madison Human
Resources System. In response to state statutory changes that require our university to create its own personnel
system, we charged the Office of Human Resources (OHR) with developing a plan to do so. This document is a
key milestone in the project. It presents the components of an overall roadmap for sustaining and enhancing the
university’s ability to attract, develop, retain and advance the talented people who make UW–Madison one of
the world’s preeminent institutions of higher education."


Not be nitpicky but the redesign of the personnel system is the HR Redesign and not the same as HRS.

HRS is a software system that is used for UW's HR management that is still a complete fucking disaster. (I seem to remember there was even a big to-do about it a few years back because we had to pay millions for a product that didn't really suit our needs, so then we spent millions more building our own that is just awful and was sooooo not ready for prime time or something like that - we wasted a bunch of money is the long and the short of it.)
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby grimfees » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:08 pm

pjbogart wrote:Well, let's take a look in this toolbox. Anything for removing tenured law professors?


If only...
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Re: UW-Madison uses Gov. Walker's 'tools'

Postby Beaver » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:14 pm

Good cartoon about HR Redesign here.

http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/ed ... f887a.html
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