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2016 AFT-Wisconsin Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

AFT-Wisconsin has a long tradition of offering educational scholarships to support dependents of members in good standing who wish to pursue a career in labor, education, health care or government service.  Currently, AFT-Wisconsin offers one $1,000 university scholarship and one $500 technical college scholarship. The application period for 2015-2016 scholarships is now open; applications are due to AFT-Wisconsin by March 15, 2016, and winners will be notified by May 1, 2016.

High school and college labor history contests

The Wisconsin Labor History Society sponsors two annual competitions for Wisconsin students.  Wisconsin high school students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate in an essay contest on the theme of the importance of unions to their families and communities, with cash prizes of up to $300.  College students (two- or four-year) and graduate students can participate in a research paper competition, with a $500 prize available at the college level and $1000 at the graduate level.

Release: The Wisconsin Idea in Crisis

Madison, WI: With Wisconsin at the center of a national debate over tenure, academic freedom, and funding for public higher education, members of the AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council announced a series of events to be held across the UW System in November examining the theme of “The Wisconsin Idea in Crisis.” “The Wisconsin Idea is a simple one,” said Richard Leson, a UW-Milwaukee associate professor of art history and the president of AFT local 3535, The Association of UW Professionals. “It’s the idea that the University of Wisconsin System should improve the lives of all Wisconsinites—through high quality education, research for the public good, and constant community outreach. As members of the AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council, my colleagues and I—academic and university staff, faculty, and graduate employees—are deeply troubled by efforts of radical politicians to weaken one of the preeminent public university systems in the world. That’s why we will be holding events on UW System campuses across the state—at Eau Claire, Stout, Madison, Green Bay, Stevens Point, and Milwaukee—to draw attention to the existential crisis that we in the UW System are confronting.”

Release: AFT-Wisconsin delegates demand UW System President Ray Cross resign

Madison, WI: Delegates to AFT-Wisconsin’s recent state convention voted to demand UW System President Ray Cross resign, AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas announced today. “Faculty, staff, and graduate employee members of AFT-Wisconsin have been fighting tirelessly to protect the quality of education and research in the UW System in the face of the Republican assault on higher education,” said Kohlhaas, a teacher in the Superior School District. “But when it comes to crucial issues like academic freedom, due process, shared governance, and state funding, President Cross hasn’t been the advocate that the UW System’s students need. The Wisconsin Idea is under attack, and the head of the UW System is standing by and letting it happen. That’s why our members are calling on President Cross to step down.”

Public Hearing: Higher Ed, Lower Debt

Wisconsin Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) have introduced the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, which would allow Wisconsinites to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported that it could save the average student loan payer $172 per year, while those with higher loans could save much more.  The bill will be receiving a public hearing this Wednesday, October 7, at 10:00 a.m. in room 300SE of the state Capitol.  Come pack the hearing with supporters of affordable higher education!

AFT-Wisconsin State Employee Council: Proposed civil service changes will increase corruption

The State Employees Council of AFT-Wisconsin issued the following statement today in response to proposed changes to state civil service law, and urged Wisconsinites to contact their legislators to oppose this attempt to weaken civil service:

The recent Republican proposal to reform Wisconsin’s Civil Service rules is an attempt to degrade the work of state employees, and will only serve to introduce more corruption into state government.

AFT-Wisconsin statement on the end of Scott Walker's presidential campaign

AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas, a teacher in the Superior School District, issued the following statement today in response to Scott Walker's announcement that he is ending his presidential campaign:

"Today marks the end of Scott Walker's illusions that the American people want to buy what he's selling.  AFT-Wisconsin members and other working Wisconsinites have been getting the word out about the damage that Walker has done to this state...

UW merger with tech colleges a bad idea

Be sure to check out the op-ed by retired Milwaukee Area Technical College instructor and former Local 212 Executive Vice-President Charlie Dee that lays out why the secretive plan to merge the Wisconsin Technical College System and the UW Colleges would be a disaster: "The first thing a responsible committee would do is research what happened when other states tried this. It would discover that mergers in Minnesota, Georgia, Alaska, Connecticut and New Jersey have failed to produced expected savings, but instead have created myriad problems."