Sorry, I can’t contribute to your fund drive

I remember a time not so long ago when I could say proudly that I worked for the U.

Dear Admissions Director Wayne Sigler,

Thank you for your voice mail inviting me to contribute to the Community Fund Drive. Unfortunately, I am unable to participate in such a worthy cause as I can no longer afford to do so. I have worked for the University for more than four years and have watched my take-home pay decrease by $5,000. Being an employee of the University has created an enormous financial burden. I have to choose between feeding my kids and paying the bills.

I am a member of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800. I was forced to take a wage freeze for two consecutive years and have received only one pay increase since this freeze was lifted. As you know, the cost of living has continued to go up; we’ve seen the premiums for health and dental benefits take on double-digit increases every year, and my 2 percent step increase has done little to offset this. Having worked in both the private and public sectors, I have come to the conclusion that working for the University is financially catastrophic for many Minnesota families.

I remember not so long ago when I could proudly say that I am an employee of the University. Now I feel ashamed. My employer has proved over the years it is not concerned about the needs of its employees and their families. It prefers to devote its time and attention to securing revenue for football stadiums rather than addressing important issues such as the ability of its employees to feed and house their families. Perhaps you didn’t intend to send your broadcast message to everyone, but rather to those administrative and management staff and faculty who have the income adequate to contribute to your worthy cause. Until the University recognizes its support staff with fair and equitable wages and offers benefits that are affordable, I respectfully request that you not send me any further announcements about the Community Fund Drive or any other charitable organization.

They say charity begins at home, Mr. Sigler; I would like to invite you, Mr. Bob Bruininks, Ms. Carol Carrier, members of the Board of Regents, and other top University management officials to consider making similar donations to the families of the University’s hardworking employees. The long-term investment benefit to the University would be substantial.

Katrina McGill is a University employee. Please send comments to [email protected]