Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We cannot buy food or pay rent with "recognition."

Dear Governor Walker,
I work as a member of the teaching academic staff at UWM, and yesterday I received a letter from you introducing your new State Employee Recognition Program at my work email, [deleted]. An introduction to your personal message indicated that it had been sent to all University of Wisconsin Employees at your request. I was very offended by the content of the letter. While it may be appropriate to discuss "customer service" in the context of some state employee's work, it seems offensive to me to refer to my students as "customers" and teaching as "customer service." I feel that this way of speaking about education and Wisconsin students reflects your lack of understanding about the purposes of education and your general lack of respect for education and educators. It also reflects your limited view of what it is that state public employees, and public employees generally, do for this state. Furthermore, I think the entire program is nothing more than a public relations campaign and that if you really appreciated state public employees you would treat us with the respect we deserve. You have shown nothing but disrespect for public employees by refusing to negotiate with us, threatening us, and stripping us of our pay and benefits. We cannot buy food or pay rent with "recognition."
Elizabeth Silverstein
State Public Employee and Tax Payer

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