Thursday, March 10, 2011
Legislative action and potential ramifications
As you probably know, the State Senate passed an amended version of the Budget Adjustment Bill last night that, among other things, eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employees throughout the State. The State Assembly just passed the bill as well. The situation at the Capitol is extremely tense.
One potential outcome from passage of this legislation is a general strike by the public employee unions, which includes many different people at UW-Madison. There is likely to be sympathy strikes by unions in the private sector like the Teamsters. Nothing is certain, but if a strike is called there could be disruptions to our normal operations, including instruction, research, practice and outreach. These disruptions could arise from unionized employees going on strike, from the presence of picket lines on campus, as well as from the willingness (or lack thereof) of non-unionized employees to cross picket lines.
I’m writing to let everyone know that our first priority is to provide a safe and effective learning and working environment for our faculty, staff and students, while respecting individual rights to speak and debate.
The way in which we do that will depend on many features unknown at this time. What I can say is that I will be in communication with the SOP community on a frequent basis to provide updates, field questions and concerns, and move us toward our first priority.
I’ll do that through “normal” channels, if possible. In the event that the campus IT infrastructure cannot be maintained, we have created this blog to provide information. This site will be populated with campus updates, in addition to items that pertain specifically to the SOP. We hope not to have to go to this mechanism, but thought it was better to be prepared in this way. An email account separate from the campus system has also been set up which will be available, if needed, for you all to communicate with me and the leadership team.
Stay tuned for additional information.
Dean Jeanette Roberts