University staff morale at all-time low

In light of recent budget cuts, Staff Appreciation Day is a wasteful platitude.

by Bette Durst

Thank you, Drs. John Conley and Gilbert B. Rodman, for your Monday letter to the editor âÄúBruininks plan bad for the U.âÄù How refreshing it is to know someone on the University of Minnesota campus cares about the lowest-paid employees âÄî that we are not just a dime-a-dozen commodity to you. We highly respect and appreciate you. It has been a pleasure to work for the University up until the last few years. Within the last few years, we have seen wages frozen, step increases frozen and now administration wants to break the contract they made with us to pay us a mere 2 percent increase and take 1.15 percent away. We are paying more for our insurance coverage and co-pays. As everyone knows, we are getting paid less and less. We live far enough away that there is a commute involved plus parking. So we pay more and more for fuel, car insurance, maintenance, etc. Yet we continue to see uncontrolled spending by the University in additional buildings or additions. President Bob Bruininks, how does it feel to be slammed against a wall by an uncontrolled horse? That is how we feel as employees every day we come to work. The Facilities Management reorganization was a big fiasco that created more mid-management positions and justified new, high-paying jobs for Kathleen OâÄôBrien and Mike Berthelson. The morale of the custodial staff has greatly diminished. Many of us are hard workers, but it gets harder and harder to care about this place. I also agree with Elaine Greenefield in the fact that all meetings do not have to serve food. There is a great deal of expense and waste that we see as custodians. Does the staff really need more sugary snacks and sodas? Everyone could bring their own water bottle filled with their own water or coffee. Other wasteful practices are Beautiful U Day, the Beautiful Building Award and Staff Appreciation. The University should show us some real appreciation and consider the gravity of salary cuts upon lower-income employees. Bette Durst University staff