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Letter to the Editor Asks Staff to Weigh In

April 23, 2008

Letter to the editor:

People are coming together at UNH, talking about their careers, experiences, hopes, dreams and fears.

There is fear about escalating costs, shrinking raises, decisions being made that affect us but over which we have no control. And the question is being asked: What can an affiliation with the AFSCME union do for us, or not?

There are a couple of things I know. I know that when our transportation people pose the idea of $240-a-year parking permits, they used comparison universities of their choice whereas an affiliation with AFSCME would give us resources to find our own comparisons.

I know that we have no input into how a 5.5 percent declared raise will be divided up but our organized faculty does have a say in theirs. I know that many of us spend HOURS working on our performance evaluation in hopes of squeezing out as much of the merit portion as we can for ourselves.

But some (many?) will never see a full merit raise because they are supervised by people who believe everyone has room for improvement therefore no one exceeds expectations to the extent they deserve the full merit piece.

There are other supervisors who buck the trend of the annual performance evaluation, write up their own outstanding eval for their support staff and give as much as allowed under the guidelines for salary distribution. There are a lot of apples and oranges among staff at a university.

I know that receiving “high priority” emotional inflaming email from HR is anything but high priority in my workday, and disturbing to say the least. Stories of single mothers not being able to afford dance lessons for their child, if they have to pay $30 monthly union dues, is a pretty underhanded piece of propaganda and an insult to the single parents that could not afford dance lessons even without paying union dues. In fact, it’s rather ironic, considering the need among that population of staff.

I know that staff are being asked to weigh in on the issue. If you want to be apathetic, that’s your choice, but examining the issue, getting your questions answered, and coming to your own conclusion would be the more responsible thing to do, I think.

We have an excellent opportunity to do that, this week, as folks from all over the country, staff from other universities, come in to share their experiences at organizing with us. Also, if you’ve received an invitation to attend a lunchtime discussion why not go, you’ve nothing to lose. If you didn’t get a personal invite but see a discussion taking place while walking our beautiful campus during lunch, stop and join in; the more that weigh in on the issue, the better.

Marilyn Qua

Office of Sponsored Research

17+ years at UNH


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