Category Archives: News

Spring 2024 update

Promoting a Healthy Workplace Over the past year, WUU has continued to support the campus community in protecting itself against COVID and other infectious diseases, including through an effort to build Corsi-Rosenthal boxes (do-it-yourself air filtration using a box fan, high-quality furnace filters, and duct tape), as well as a lending library of inexpensive CO2 monitors.

Advocating for  Extension & Two-year Campuses We remain concerned about the future of the Division of Extension (where the number of faculty has been reduced from over 100 to under 50, through retirements and pressure to convert to academic staff positions), as well as of the two-year campuses in UW System. Five of the 13 two-year campuses have announced their closure since merging with four-year campuses in 2019. This has resulted in numerous faculty and staff layoffs, and there have been further layoffs and furloughs at other campuses.

Supporting Faculty & Staff We continue to look for ways to support campus workers and to promote academic freedom and equal access to education. In addition to supporting faculty and academic staff grievance processes, including  legal fees, we seek applications for the Beck-Elder Awards to support research and outreach projects, with a budget of up to $5000. See

Don’t Forget to Vote in the April 2 Election! In addition to the presidential primary and numerous local offices, there are two ballot measures to amend the Wisconsin Constitution. The League of Women Voters encourages voting NO on both ballot measures. See your ballot and find your polling place at If you have not already received (and returned!) an absentee ballot, consider voting at one of the in-person early voting sites.

Upcoming WUU Board Elections  We will be sending out a ballot soon for WUU board members. Please vote by May 1.

Member Meeting We are planning an online member meeting for the week of May 6, as well as an informal in-person gathering at the Memorial Union Terrace on Monday May 6, 5-6:30pm. We hope to see you at one or both!

Paid family leave

WUU enthusiastically endorses the Paid Family Leave resolution that will be considered by the UW-Madison Faculty Senate on 6 March 2023 and by the Academic Staff Assembly on 13 March.

The resolution brings important attention to a June, 2022, report from an ad hoc Working Group on Family Leave for UW-Madison Employees. That report provides a detailed summary of the many gaps and inconsistencies in current policies at UW-Madison, the value and public support for paid family leave, for recruitment competitiveness and for equity in the workplace.

The report’s strong recommendations include: “Provide for all employees to receive at least six weeks of fully paid leave after a birth, adoption, or foster placement, separate from other paid leave benefits…[and establish] a timeline for phased increases over a period of two to three bienniums to a range of 8-12 weeks of fully paid leave.”

June 2022 report on Family Leave

An ad hoc Working Group on Family Leave for UW-Madison Employees completed an important report on family leave, with detailed research and recommendations. The report has not been widely distributed or publicized but deserves careful study.

The Family Leave Working Group was formed in December, 2016, by Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, to make recommendations on family leave for university employees, following a separate effort arranged by the University Committee that focused on family leave for tenure-track faculty.

The report, completed in June, 2022, includes detailed research on the state of family leave at UW-Madison and peer institutions. All but one of our peer universities provides paid parental leave.

The report makes a number of important recommendations, including that UW-Madison provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid parental leave to all employees starting at the beginning of their appointment, and provide at least six weeks of fully paid leave after a birth, adoption, or foster placement, separate from other paid leave benefits (such as vacation and sick leave).

CO2 monitor lending library

WUU is excited to contribute towards a lending library of carbon dioxide monitors to assess air quality on campus.

With the elimination of the campus mask mandate last March, there are important concerns about air quality and ventilation in classrooms and other spaces at UW-Madison. Air quality is an important factor in the spread of airborne diseases such as COVID-19. Campus administration has not been forthcoming about efforts to assess or improve air quality. The Facilities HVAC FAQ is particularly disappointing as it discourages any efforts to assess air quality, improve air ventilation, or filter air in university spaces.

A group of campus workers and community members has designed a low-cost CO2 monitor and are seeking to lend them out to the campus community, to assess air ventilation in classrooms and other campus spaces. They have 18 CO2 monitors available for use; WUU has contributed funds for 10 of them.

Hand-made CO2 monitor built with a $40 CO2 sensor, a $10 microcontroller, a $5 LCD display, and a 50 cent plastic box.

If you are interested in borrowing one of these monitors, submit a request via this form:

COVID-19 Posters

WUU is proud to announce its new COVID-19 posters, which have begun being placed on bulletin boards around the UW-Madison campus.

Vintage-styled poster with earth surrounded by people holding hands with the text "Let's protect our community", "Get tested", "Use sick days", "Get boosted", "Mask up", and "Strong unions make strong communities"

Designed by local artist Meghan Griffin, the posters are intended to encourage communal action to fight back against the pandemic and help protect the vulnerable members of our community: Mask up, get boosted, stay home when sick, and get tested.

Help spread the word by posting an image of our poster on social media:

Support UW Health Nurses

WUU supports the UW Health nurses’ effort to form a union. UW Health claims that it cannot legally recognize their union, but Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul issued an opinion that UW Health can voluntarily recognize the union. On Wednesday, August 24, the nurses voted to hold a 3-day strike, Sept 13-15, 2002. (See the articles in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.)

Please join us in supporting the UW Health nurses:

Act 10 – 10th anniversary

Ten years ago, Act 10 was implemented in Wisconsin against the wishes of the vast majority of Wisconsin workers who held unprecedented, peaceful, huge, protests for months. Act 10 “saved labor” only in the sense that it reduced workers ability to organize, forced workers to pay more for benefits, reduced their wages, increased their work load, and made their employment more precarious. The link to the Wisconsin State Journal shows the amazing photos of our protests.

Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network (WSRN) launched It sets out an enforceable, binding agreement between global brands and unions to pay living wages to garment workers. The groups represent a broad coalition of unions, advocacy groups and NGOs. The proposal requires payment of a living wage contribution on every order signatory brands place with any supplier. This contribution directly goes to workers. The contribution is based on the gap between statutory minimum wages and estimated living wages. The proposed agreement also includes strong protections for workers’ right to organize and the guaranteed access to a 24-hour complaint mechanism to report violations to the agreement. Learn more at, and see the current list of academic endorsers here (please add your name if you have an academic appointment by emailing Sarah Newell of the WSRN,