Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stupid? You want stupid? Let's talk furloughs.

Yup, we got your stupid right here, in a big steaming pile.

As I pointed out earlier, Wisconsin is going to furlough essentially all university employees for 8 days a year for the next two years. For faculty and many academic staff, it's a pure pay cut — our work loads won't change a whit, and we'll get 3-4% less pay.

The bizarre thing is that this applies also to people who earn no state money — an army of people funded on grants and gifts. UW will lose the work of many of them, the state will lose the tax on their income and — and here's your extra-crispy nugget of idiocy — we will lose a bunch of grant money. For many federal grants, budgets can be shuffled or money can be rolled over into next year. But on a whole set, PIs cannot do that. Such money, presumably, will be handed back to the federal government, private agency or donor. This isn't hypothetical; I know top-flight professionals who are funded entirely on such grants.

That's a lot of downside. Is there any actual upside?

To paraphrase Joan Hall on Whad'ya know?* last week, the people doing this are so stupid that they couldn't pour piss out of a boot if it had a hole in the toe and instructions on the heel.

*Not much.

Image from here — where there's plenty of stupid to go around.


Anonymous said...

I heard a union organizer say yesterday that faculty have never thought of themselves as being 'working' or even as 'working' in the usual sense, but that stuff like furloughs are fixing that.

squires said...

Oh lordy, this makes me sad. Maybe you guys need to form one of these coalitions. Not that anyone will *listen*...

Anonymous said...

We need to UNIONIZE. And get Jim Doyle out of office.