Monday, May 09, 2005

The SEIU Gets Smart(er)

The University of Iowa (UI) is in the same boat as many colleges. Namely budget shortages due to capital projects and poor spending practices by senior administrative staff, leaving the majority of staffers left holding the bill -- in the form of low wages.

Over 3,600 professional staff are saying enough is enough, with 1,100 signing on to file a petition to join SEIU Local 199. After the regents passed a wage increase of 4.5%, which I'm absolutely sure they thought was exceedingly generous on their part, the staff at UI decided it was time to take action.

UI research scientist Gerene Denning said:
"What I found was sometimes it was very hard to get the P&S staff perspective sort of heard, and I think that's part of what a union does for you," said Denning, who has been a UI professional and scientific staff member for about 25 years. "It kind of gives you an organization through which you and your peers could sort of have a voice in things."
The average pay for these staffers at UI is $50,000 per year, which is very poor indeed when you consider that the jobs often require advanced degrees, even PhDs, and that senior administrative staff make well over six-figures for largely managerial duties.

The bottom line is that the big-money alums could care less about worker's wages, and that attitude carries over throughout the senior administration. It is not a priority unless the workers make it a priority. The only way to effect that change is to organize. The alternative is to watch your paycheck degrade vís-a-vís inflation while some fat-cat slaps his WASP last name on another building that no one needs.

Read more here and here.

No comments:

Post a Comment