Saturday, July 11, 2009

UW furlough update, rabbit hole edition

As everybody in Wisconsin knows, the state budget is done and all state workers, even those not paid a dime from state sources, will be furloughed for 8 days per year the next two years. In practice, this means a pay reduction for everybody, in addition to the rescinded pay raises, and some days off for classified staff, though the same amount of work will need to get done.

People have been asking exactly what our status is on those days — we are required to declare in writing that we are taking our furlough days. One rumor was that we would be forbidden to work, implausible though that is. So, as √v says, "whiskey-foxtrot-tango". A response to one such query from the Office of Human Resources is now floating around:
If you choose to work on a day that you are technically furloughed the University has no compelling financial or legal reason to insert itself between you and that decision. There is a reporting requirement - you must declare the mandated number of furlough days, and sign documentation attesting to that. But again - the exact nature of how you spend your time on those days is a matter of indifference to the legal and financial operations of the University.
Curiouser and curiouser.*

Image from here.

*In context: "Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)." Just don't ask me how you think 'curiouser' is not good English when you write stuff like 'she quite forgot'.


Q. Pheevr said...

Well, the comparative suffix -er doesn't generally attach to adjectives that are more than two syllables long. But what on earth is wrong with "she quite forgot"?

Mr. Verb said...

Sorry, failed dialect/national varieties joke: Lots of American dialects use -er on polysyllabic adjectives, while the 'quite' is screamingly non-American to many here. The joke should have been in making those dialect observations on a passage so familiar.

ALM said...

Is there some reason they aren't just declaring a ~3.5% pay cut for all employees paid from state funds? That would be more honest, and they could still offer some optional time off as compensation without requiring people to claim they are taking furlough when they are actually working. I wonder how much money will be spent to process all those forms, not to mention the money that will be lost by requiring people who are paid by non-state funds to take furlough. Who's making these stupid decisions, and can they be voted out of office?

Mr. Verb said...

(1) Yes, there's a reason for furloughs: A pay cut is permanent and this can be temporary.

(2) The paperwork and the other costs laid out in other posts here and elsewhere are going to be very significant. Many people are assuming that this is a cold political move to show that UW-Madison is 'sharing the pain'.

(3) This came from Gov. Doyle, as far as I know. One interpretation out there -- which I could not verify if I wasn't merely a pseudonymous blogger -- is that the Governor's office thinks it's letting UW off very easy and that the University and its employees should shut up and be happy with what we've gotten here.

We'll see if Doyle is around to be voted out of office.

Bill Idsardi said...

- "So, as √v says, 'whiskey-foxtrot-tango'."
I don't know if √v is dyslexic, but shouldn't this be "whisky-tango-foxtrot"?

Nick Dvoracek said...

I"m not particularly happy about the furlough, but I am relieved that I don't have to lay off any of my staff. Kinda glad I don't work for the University of California.

Mr. Verb said...

Well, let's hope we are truly able to avoid layoffs with the furloughs. That should be the biggest advantage they have.