Students Protest Union Busting Move At U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Graduate students who teach at a University of Wisconsin college say the Dean there has broken his promise to honor their union contract. The students say Dean Rodney Swain of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s College of Letters and Sciences has sent out a letter saying there is no current contract, so UWM would be discontinuing summer tuition remission for the union members. This benefit allowed summer tuition remission for graduating assistants who must take a summer class to fulfill their degree.

The union says while cuts to the college’s budget may prompt the administration’s action, it is not right to pay for budget cuts on the backs of graduate workers. The union is pressing Dr. Swain to honor the spirit of his promise of March, 2011 and “do no harm” to workers’ contracts.

More than 200 emails and phone calls were made last week by union members, faculty, alumni, classified and unclassified staff and students at the University demanding that the Dean reverse his decision to eliminate summer tuition remission.

More than 300 postcards have been delivered to the Dean’s office. The first segment of postcards were delivered to the Dean’s secretary, April 16, she said the dean was busy and could not meet with MGAA; second segment of postcards were delivered to office that was locked, not allowing MGAA leadership to even speak with secretary to get a receipt of the postcards delivered (Monday they were given receipts).

Tracey Pollock

Tracey Pollock, a native of River Falls, Wis., studied journalism at UW-River Falls and finished her education at UW-Milwaukee with a focus in sociology. She is interested in covering social justice issues and shedding light on issues in a way that corporate media will not undertake. Pollock lives in Milwaukee, where generations of her family have resided. She enjoys the local music scene, bicycling and camping.

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