University employees brace for changes

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:36:35 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 22 2013 10:53:52 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Employees at state universities in Wisconsin are bracing for some changes to how their jobs are classified.

As part of the Act 10 reforms, the "classified staff" status will be dissolved. That impacts both union and non-union jobs. Some examples of classified staff include janitors and secretaries.

Those impacted will be moved into "academic staff" status.

Sandy Suchla, steward of WPEC Local 4848, says one of the challenges right now is figuring out exactly how benefits will be impacted for employees switching classifications.

There's also concern because some employees will be going from a full-time position to a limited-term contract.

"For some people, I think that's a very stressful situation to have to work in," said Suchla.

"We need computers to work so you'd expect a person like a computer technician to be employed in a permanent-type position," she added.

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow says one of the positives of the change is that it will give those formerly working as classified staff an opportunity to participate in shared governance.

"They'll have a voice on all the committees when we have decisions that impact the entire campus. We will consult with them," said Gow.

"We've been doing that anyway here at UW-L but now that will be formalized," he added.

The changes are set to go into effect in July but still do require approval from the Wisconsin State Legislature.