Thursday, August 31, 2017

Members Give Assist to Black Lives United's "Back to School" Backpack Drive

For the second consecutive year, the grassroots Green Bay community organizing group Black Lives United (BLU) organized a “Back to School” drive to help families in the area struggling to pay for school supplies. The effort took place across the month of August, and it all culminated in a “drop-off” day event on Sunday, August 20. People from across Green Bay dropped off backpacks, school supplies, and donations at the residence of UWGB-United member Jon Shelton. BLU also hosted a conversation about race and racism on drop-off day. Four UWGB-United members — Patricia Terry, Jon Shelton, Andrew Austin, and Adam Gaines — were there and others (including Mike Draney and Linda Briggs-Dineen) donated to the cause, too. Altogether, BLU collected thirty backpacks filled with supplies and another $850 in donations to buy more!

Union President Andrew Austin and Secretary Patricia Terry
engage in a conversation about race and racism with
BLU leader Stephanie Ortiz and UWGB student Ibrahim Budul.

UWGB-United Plays Key Role in AFT-W Higher Ed Council’s “Fund the Freeze” Campaign

From the modest beginnings of a small meeting in Stevens Point in September 2016, the AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council (HEC) developed a state-wide budget campaign called “Fund the Freeze.” Revolving around a pledge that called for fully funding tuition freeze over the next two biennia, the HEC got the support of SGA’s, Faculty Senates, and Academic Staff Senates across the state, in addition to two state senators and seven assembly representatives (including Green Bay’s own Senator Dave Hansen and Assembly Representative Eric Genrich).

AFT-W locals across the UW system held on campus events during “Fund the Freeze” week late March, and our panel discussion and march were among the most well attended in Wisconsin. (Thanks to both Dave Hansen and Eric Genrich for speaking at both!)

With generous financial support from AFT-Wisconsin and from UW-Milwaukee’s Local 3535, the HEC launched a facebook ad connected to the pledge. The post garnered 4,000 “likes” and the pledge and additional 1,500 signatures from faculty, staff, students, and the public across Wisconsin.

The HEC capped it all off with a media conference call in May. Union leaders Dan Strouthes (Eau Claire), Andy Felt (Stevens Point), and Jon Shelton (Green Bay) joined a call with three pledge signatories form the legislature: Jill Billings (La Crosse), Katrina Shankland (Stevens Point), and Genrich. You can read all about the conference call here.

Thanks to all of our members in Green Bay and the HEC for all of their hard work in changing the narrative around funding public higher education in Wisconsin!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

UWGB-United's Statement Against Hatred and Xenophobia

UWGB-United represents faculty and academic staff at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. We are a union of educators, advisers, and mentors. Students, their families and communities are our chief concern. We want students to know that we share their desire for a diverse, vibrant, and secure learning community.

 The rhetoric and politics in recent months has aroused antipathies towards members of our society, promoted ethnic and racial hatreds, and spread xenophobia. We believe that we are at our best when we embrace difference and build inclusive communities of sympathy and concern. We reject hate, suspicion, and exclusion.

 UWGB-United is dedicated to defending human rights, preserving the pursuit of truth through evidence-based scholarship and critical inquiry, and promoting the freedom of all people to pursue their educational aspirations in a safe, supportive, and compassionate environment. We want to reassure students that their teachers, advisers, and staff respect them and are steadfastly committed to their growth and development.

 UWGB-United is the local (6511) of American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Wisconsin. To learn more about us, please visited

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Petition Declaring No Confidence in Ray Cross as President of the UW System

It is a long tradition in Wisconsin higher education that the faculty and staff speak up and express their concern when a university president or campus chancellor cannot lead the institution to meet the public’s expected standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service.  One way that faculty and staff speak up is by offering a statement of “No Confidence” in the university leadership, and further, to give reasons why that leadership has failed.     
President Ray Cross is the Chief Executive Officer of the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System.  As President, he holds the responsibility to advocate for excellence in teaching, research, and service to the people of Wisconsin. 
Over the past year, the Wisconsin legislature imposed a drastic $250 million budget cut, and other policies which undermined both academic freedom and student learning conditions.
In March 2015, President Cross pledged to resign if he failed to reduce substantially the legislature’s proposed budget cut and also if he failed to protect tenure, shared governance, and academic freedom for all UW universities and colleges.
One year later it is clear that he has failed, and the consequences have been dire.  Despite a reduction of budget cuts from $300 to $250 million, the cuts to a wide variety of academic and administrative programs that benefit students on campuses across the System have been severe.  President Cross has remained silent about the gravity of these cuts, and before the most recent Board of Regents meeting, ordered individual Chancellors to keep quiet about these consequences as well.
Moreover, he has also done nothing to prevent the Regents from passing new, deleterious tenure and shared governance policies that clearly violate the principles of the American Association of University Professors, upheld for nearly a century as necessary for rigorous academic freedom in the classroom. Indeed, recent actions by the UW System general counsel actively contributed to the erosion of academic due process and shared governance.
As a result of UW System President Ray Cross’s unwillingness to advocate on behalf of excellence in teaching, research and service in the UW system, we, the undersigned faculty, staff, students, and members of the public say that we have no confidence in him.

A Petition Declaring No Confidence in Ray Cross as President of the UW Sys

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Walker's Politics of Resentment

Vice-President Andrew Austin's Sunday morning op-ed in the Green Bay Press Gazette 5.15.2016 debunking some of the distortions made by the governor's office. 

Walker's politics of resentment

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wisconsin faculty vote 'no confidence' in administration

President Doreen Higgins graces the cover story of AFT national magazine!
Doreen Higgins, President, UWGB-United

Wisconsin faculty vote 'no confidence' in administration