Student Council has been all about change lately. They want to be better, faster and stronger — all before midnight, hopefully.
But Student Labor Action Coalition has a specific change in mind as well. And tonight, the two will probably butt heads.
A change in University of Wisconsin campus worker policy would only let union workers off for their union events, which happen only a few times a year. Previously, they were allowed the time off, plus a 10-hour span for rest before the event.
Naturally, SLAC got all huffy about this. SLAC member and Associated Students of Madison Academic Affairs Chair Jonah Zinn wrote up a resolution to go before ASM Student Council urging Chancellor Biddy Martin to reverse this change.
We’ll admit, the change doesn’t sound at all necessary. Given the length of union meetings and the heavy agenda they usually have to go through, getting everybody in the same room is a task in itself. Not giving second- and third-shift workers the night off beforehand doesn’t exactly help their cause. Nor can we assume any meaningful uptick in productivity or efficiency by this move.
Bringing this to ASM isn’t a bad move, but under the circumstances it’s not the best use of the council’s time, either. Mr. Zinn’s beef is the sort of stuff that Student Council would argue about for three hours and then table until a future meeting. It involves issues of UW responsibilities, workers’ rights and ASM’s jurisdiction. All for an action that would have little tangible effect and should take five minutes to decide.
And with the resolution Mr. Zinn has written up, they’ll take 30 minutes debating the language alone. Instead of a simple resolution saying this would hurt workers, Mr. Zinn’s language makes it seem like Ms. Martin’s move is also racist and classist as well. That debate is irrelevant — just discuss the policy change.
Student Council is finally realizing the lack of activity regarding the student body at large is making them a rather uninteresting and substantially useless body. Meetings run too long because of debates over procedure, language and bylaws, while substantive issues are left hanging in the ether. ASM has a funding system for student organizations that is getting attacked by disgruntled student orgs. It has a restructuring of the graduate school that it has yet to tackle. The Diversity Committee hasn’t had a plan of action in months, and Academic Affairs may as well be known as “Textbooks Committee.” These are substantial issues more worthy of ASM’s attention.
If ASM can find a way to discuss this labor issue outside of normal Student Council meetings and come to a consensus in a timely manner, then feel free to tell Ms. Martin that this seems unnecessary.
Just don’t keep us waiting for the “new” Student Council.