UW-Madison Labor Council: Workers to protest for a moral restart

Starting at 4 pm tomorrow, Friday August 14, UW-Madison faculty and staff will take part in an informational picket calling for a “Moral Restart.” The picket will be along University Avenue, starting near East Campus Mall. All participants will wear masks, keep a minimum of 6 feet distance in between them, and ensure no more than 25 people are on the same block.

“We have been organizing online, surveying workers across campus about their safety and job security concerns, and holding a large interactive town hall online,” said Peter Haney, President of Local 2412, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). “But the administration isn’t listening, so to protect our campus and community, we’re holding this physically distanced in-person protest.”

The protest is being organized by United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS), the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA), AFSCME Local 171, and AFSCME Local 2412. The protest is in support of recent demands from the University Labor Council (ULC):

  • Move all courses online until there are zero new cases in Dane County for fourteen (14) consecutive days.
  • Provide employment and payment continuity for all workers—hourly, part-time, and salaried—during the pandemic. Do not shift the burden of the fiscal crisis onto low-income workers and vulnerable communities.
  • Reinstate the $15 per hour promised wage for hourly workers and extend it to student workers.
  • Meet and confer with campus labor unions and lobby the state Joint Committee on Employee Relations to immediately approve the trades workers’ contract.

“While we are holding an in-person protest, we are putting more protections in place — and communicating them more clearly — than the UW-Madison administration is doing with their plans to bring more than 40,000 students back to campus in a few weeks,” said Marybeth McGinnis from UFAS. “The UW-Madison needs to listen to us workers and keep our community safe. We can’t pretend that bringing students from around the state and beyond to Madison and nearly filling the residence halls will be safe.”

The ULC released their demands and statement on UW-Madison’s fall plans on August 5 (English) (Spanish). The labor unions that comprise ULC are:

  • Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin
  • TAA, Local 3220, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • UFAS, Local 223, AFT
  • Local 2412, AFSCME
  • Local 171, AFSCME