ASM Goals: Action Items

[This is part of my series of ASM goals for Spring Semester. Read them all here]

Have a workable plan for the Housing Fair finished. It sounds like there’s some interest in the rest of council on for this, which should mean we can get a lot of it worked out this spring, and passed on to the 17th session.

Host a Grad Student Townhall or two. They may be general-purpose, or maybe we’ll hold some townhalls on specific issues.

We’ve got the RA Unionization issue still out there. Nothing happened in the fall because the State is still writing the rules, but those will be done in the next month or two. This is going to be a bigger issue next year, when any RA organizing committees get started, but that part won’t involve ASM. What ASM can and should do this spring is to help to get facts out about the process, and to help shape those processes.

What’s happening right now with RA unionization is the State, through the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, is drafting rules for how the process of union recognition will work.  State law laid out the broad outline of how it will work, ie it will be “card-check”, but WERC is now responsible for putting together the exact details of things like “when can authorization cards start being collected”, “what does an organization have to do to be recognized as a group collecting cards”, etc. WERC will have a first draft of those rules done in late February, and then will hold public hearings on the draft. WERC is at least open to the possibility of holding hearings on campus, and organizing that is something ASM could do. Alternatively, ASM could collect feedback and pass it on to WERC through a general townhall.

Another topic that we may want to have a grad student town hall to talk about the grad school reorg, especially after the Faculty Senate/University Committee weighs in with their report. I didn’t push for ASM to do anything with the grad school reorg this past fall, and in fact counseled against it, because I thought there was too much hysteria around the whole thing. It was obvious that it wasn’t well-defined and needed more work, and the process was going to slow down. I thought the Faculty Senate resolution was unnecessary and hurt more than it helped. Similarly, I thought the best thing ASM could do last semester was to stay out of it.

That doesn’t mean that ASM shouldn’t keep track of what’s going on, and to be sure we need to watch carefully in the next few weeks. The report commissioned by the University Committee is expected by February 1st. After that’s out, I expect to see a firmer plan from the administration and cooler heads, and that’s a better time for ASM to get involved.


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