Faculty at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse voted overwhelmingly in favor of union representation through AFT-Wisconsin on Feb. 24.
The 249 to 37 vote in the 328-person unit comes in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to slash workers' rights and remove academic staff and faculty's right to collectively bargain.
"What we've seen at UW-La Crosse is an extension of what we've seen across Wisconsin for the past two weeks," said Susan Crutchfield, an associate professor of English. "Like the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who have rallied in Madison, Superior, Fond du Lac, and dozens of other communities across our state, La Crosse faculty stood united today in saying, 'We deserve a voice in the workplace.' "
Crutchfield said Gov. Walker's budget repair bill galvanized the faculty's resolve to form a union. "When it became clear that the governor's extremist legislation had nothing to do with balancing the budget and everything to do with denying workers' rights, UW-La Crosse faculty realized the urgency in this vote. Each of us stood up, took notice, and turned out to vote."
UW faculty and academic staff were extended the right to collectively bargain in 2009. Since then, faculty at two campuses—UW-Eau Claire and UW-Superior—have voted in favor of union representation by the AFT. [AFT-Wisconsin press release]
February 24, 2011