Governor-elect Scott Walker has received much press coverage over the past few days as a result of comments he made to the Milwaukee Press Club on Tuesday and in a statement made earlier that day. Walker suggested a plan that would require workers to make a 5% contribution to their pensions and contribute substantially more towards health benefits. Walker went so far as to suggest union decertification as a way to help solve the state’s budget crisis.
According to Walker, these changes are necessary in light of the state’s $2.7 billion budget deficit. “We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots,” Walker told attendees at the luncheon.
While Walker was speaking about agreements with represented state employees, his remarks offer a clue to what may be ahead for non-represented state employees, including faculty at UW-Madison.
For more than a generation, PROFS has fought hard to ensure competitive compensation for faculty, and we will continue to do so in these uncertain times. Requiring faculty to cover a portion of pension costs is an effective pay cut, and PROFS will be sure to communicate that to the governor-elect and legislative leaders. A total compensation package that is fair and competitive is in the best interest of the university and the state.