Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is No More

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    Aug 22, 2011 1:15 PM GMT
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/22/union_for_teaching_assistants_at_wisconsin_madison_votes_not_to_certify_for_collective_bargaining

    The Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin at Madison dates to 1966. In 1970, following a four-week strike, the graduate students at Madison became the first T.A. union to win a contract. Over the years, the union -- affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers -- has been a leader in the drive to promote collective bargaining for graduate student workers.

    Last week, after hours of debate, the union’s members voted not to seek state certification to continue to act as a collective bargaining agent. Union leaders said that the vote was a close one (they declined to reveal the totals), and taken with very mixed feelings by both those seeking to continue state certification and those arguing against. Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union.

    Union leaders said that they couldn’t function well if they had to effectively be in a perpetual organizing drive for the annual union votes, and also if they had to pay annual fees to be certified. "Our membership was keenly aware of the sort of resources and energy it would take in order to hold on," said Adrienne Pagac, co-president of the union and a doctoral student in sociology at Madison....


    As Ann Althouse, a law prof notes, "The TAA was central to the protests that took place at the Capitol last February and March", and as someone else posted on her site noted: "The nail in the coffin was no longer having ‘union dues …automatically deducted from the paychecks of the 2,700-2,800 graduate teaching assistants at Madison’."
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    Aug 22, 2011 1:29 PM GMT
    How awful. Those T.A.s are going to be screwed now.
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    Aug 22, 2011 2:27 PM GMT
    I've been a teaching assistant at three universities now, and I can't tell you how awful things would have been without the teaching assistant's union.
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    Aug 22, 2011 3:33 PM GMT
    Fountains saidI've been a teaching assistant at three universities now, and I can't tell you how awful things would have been without the teaching assistant's union.


    It was the members who voted not to keep the union going. Presumably they felt that it was not useful to have the union given the costs. What is perhaps surprising is that how unwilling these TAs were to contribute to the union when dues were not deducted directly from their pay.

    As for Christian's silly comment - why do you suppose they voted not to carry on? Screwed? I doubt it.
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    Aug 22, 2011 3:47 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    riddler78 saidWhat is perhaps surprising is that how unwilling these TAs were to contribute to the union when dues were not deducted directly from their pay.



    That's it right there.


    Actually, here's the issue as noted in the article:

    "Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union."

    What's the point in paying union dues if the law prevents the union from effectively representing you? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 22, 2011 5:43 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    riddler78 saidWhat is perhaps surprising is that how unwilling these TAs were to contribute to the union when dues were not deducted directly from their pay.



    That's it right there.


    Actually, here's the issue as noted in the article:

    "Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union."

    What's the point in paying union dues if the law prevents the union from effectively representing you? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Ah, so it was all just about the money.
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    Aug 22, 2011 6:27 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    riddler78 saidWhat is perhaps surprising is that how unwilling these TAs were to contribute to the union when dues were not deducted directly from their pay.



    That's it right there.


    Actually, here's the issue as noted in the article:

    "Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union."

    What's the point in paying union dues if the law prevents the union from effectively representing you? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Ah, so it was all just about the money.


    No. I can understand why your worldview would lead you to that conclusion but would you pay for a service that has been effectively outlawed where you live? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 22, 2011 6:40 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    riddler78 saidWhat is perhaps surprising is that how unwilling these TAs were to contribute to the union when dues were not deducted directly from their pay.



    That's it right there.


    Actually, here's the issue as noted in the article:

    "Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union."

    What's the point in paying union dues if the law prevents the union from effectively representing you? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Ah, so it was all just about the money.


    No. I can understand why your worldview would lead you to that conclusion but would you pay for a service that has been effectively outlawed where you live? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Ah, so for clarification unions do nothing else?
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    Aug 22, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidAh, so for clarification unions do nothing else?


    No, it depends on the union but that is a primary reason for forming them.
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    Aug 22, 2011 9:46 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    riddler78 saidAh, so for clarification unions do nothing else?


    No, it depends on the union but that is a primary reason for forming them.


    So what precisely did the law prevent them from doing? It wasn't collective bargaining.

    The primary impediment? That dues weren't automatically being deducted. So basically they choose to blame the lack of value they create for their members on their inability to convince members to voluntarily contribute?
  • conservativej...

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    Aug 22, 2011 9:52 PM GMT
    Fountains saidI've been a teaching assistant at three universities now, and I can't tell you how awful things would have been without the teaching assistant's union.


    So is anyone, other than Fountains, who has responded to this post a current or former union member?