New plan for management leaves questions

By Skip

As a University worker, I think it’s time to clear the air with the administration. We’ve been a patient work force. We’ve allowed this administration to deal with us and this community as it pleased, but now it is time for some answers.
When I say answers, I’m not talking about “lip service.” As a proud and long-standing work force, we deserve better, and we demand better. We’ve been left out in the cold for too long over too many issues that have ended up altering everything from our pay, our work shifts and even the management we’re forced to endure. It’s time to play straight with us. No more games.
The administration’s Responsibility Center Management plan may be the next best thing to white bread for the management, but to the bargaining unit worker and varied departments and staff members, it’s just one more of the administration’s endless games. It’s schemes look good on paper but always falter in application. This campus, its community and the University’s integrity can’t afford any more “flights of fancy” of the present administration. There is too much at stake.
We have to have more than master plans. We have to have substance to our future and not just for the work force, but for the whole community. We’ve been in the dark for too long about the focus and direction of this University. We’ve been left with, at least from a worker’s level, endless speculation and rumor about our future. A plan like Responsibility Center Management only infuriates us more because it’s just another “quick-fix” ploy being played by a lot of outside corporates who may understand everything about the industry but haven’t the vaguest idea about community. All that is certain is that all of us, the worker, the student, the community and the taxpayer, end up paying, and the outcome is never worth the cost.
When a management system has proven itself ineffective and counter to the needs and services of the people, why should it be allowed to continue? When the service work force knows 10 times better what is needed to achieve the best results on the job and for the community, why must we listen to a management that doesn’t know what’s best and couldn’t care less?
Does the bargaining-unit employee truly have a future at this University, or are we going to be sliced and diced and sold off to incompetent out-of-source outfits for the lowest bid?
If the out-of-source “game” is what’s intended for the bargaining work force, it had best come with a warning. Presently, the University has a very capable and competent work force at its disposal. We are paid well for our services, and we are deserving of such compensation. Long ago, we were trained to care, as well as serve, the people and the community. Up until five years ago, service and care were part of our credo. But then industrialization supplanted community. Now our character, integrity and stability have been jeopardized and forfeited to placate a management of outsiders who have proven inept and whose only concern for the University runs as far as another entry on their fictitious resumes.
Don’t we all deserve better? Isn’t commitment to virtues such as service, integrity and quality what the University was once most proud of? Why should any of us tolerate this situation and expect less? We are expecting less now, and the effects are visible everywhere. The answers have to come and, the sooner, the better to restore the focus and to crystallize our direction, the truth, the future of ourselves and this community. We’ve been in the lurch too long.
Skip Staehnke is a building and groundsworker for the East Bank and union steward of Teamsters Local 320.