F = Feedback
S = Suggestion
UW-MILWAUKEE UPS FEEDBACK REPORT
Suggestion for new employee categories -
1. Instead of Operational Staff:
Service Staff, Resource Staff, Functional Staff, Technical Staff, Skilled Staff, Professional Staff, Non-
Greater flexibility in managing positions funded by extramural research grants could be achieved by
creating a new title, Extramurally Funded Researcher. This title would only be available to researchers
who are supported entirely by an extramural grant. There would be salary range (as for Research
Associates), no term limit or minimum duration, no restriction based on area of study, and no need
that the position involve training. The principal investigator and researcher would be able to negotiate
whether health insurance or retirement benefits would be included, and the grant would be charged
I believe that the newly suggested employee category of "Operational Staff" gives the impression of it
being a lower class.
I like the idea of job function families. The titles of most jobs don't tell you what a person does.
By dividing the classified staff between Operational Staff and Academic Staff based on exempt and non-
exempt employees, it would further confuse job titles. I believe this needs to be further explored over
what titles are currently exempt and non-exempt. If there is a need to keep a split between academic
staff and operational staff, then it should apply by job title/description and not by exemption status.
I have some serious concerns regarding moving exempt classified employees into academic staff.
There are numerous regents and legislators who do not understand our jobs and how we differ from
classified staff now even though we have been fighting this battle for many years. This move will make
it more difficult to explain our uniqueness and maintain parity with the faculty in terms of pay raises.
I haven't yet seen a tree where a person in my position could advance. I've built a work history here at
UWM of many valued specialized skills, continuous growth, and professional development over 8 years
and this has never been rewarded or resulted in a promotion. This needs to change.
I do not believe that merely changing the name of the "classified" group and giving them a voice in
governance is enough to eliminate the classism inherent in the current system. Whether we are
referred to as "classified" or "operational", we will still be viewed as less important, less valuable, and
though given a voice, I fear that it would be simply a token and that we would not be
heard nor taken seriously.
We must eliminate the differences that foster classism between employment categories. I would
suggest doing away with these extraneous categories altogether. There should be two groups: Faculty
and Academic Staff, or better yet, University Staff. I think this would go much further to unify the
workforce than merely changing the name of the classified staff.
I agree with making the Friday after Thanksgiving a legal holiday.
Do not add a legal holiday for the day after Thanksgiving. 9 holidays is already 3 too many.
If the personal holiday is included as vacation, I am concerned that I would lose the PH hours upon a
merger of the hours due to the state statute related to a cap on leave accrual.
I agree with the recommendation of combining Personal Days and Vacation Days.
Currently, Classified employees are allowed to take personal holiday time during their original
probationary period, but not vacation time. If the 36 hours of personal holiday for Classified employees
is added to vacation time, steps should be taken to ensure that Classified employees can use at least
some of that time during their original 6-month probationary period.
If Personal Holidays are merged with Vacation, there should be some allowance for newly hired
employees to use Vacation.
Classified staff who currently have Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) currently have 6 steps which
determine the premium paid. Once they meet certain criteria and reach step 6 they no longer have to
pay a premium even if they use all of their sick time. If ICI for classified staff is changed to operate like
academic staff, a decision will have to be made as to how the premiums will be determined (e.g.,
should the"no premium" option remain available, and should current employees be grandfathered in
to new policies).
It would be preferable if all research titles came with two options: w/ or w/o health insurance, and w/
or w/o retirement benefits. Sometimes an employee already has health insurance through his parents
or the military. In these cases, paying for health insurance is a poor use of grant money. Furthermore,
some employees would prefer to go without retirement benefits in exchange for a higher salary,
leaving the same cost to the grant.
Change the relationship between the UW and Dept of Employee Trust Funds. Keep the WRS pension,
but have UW System Administration contract for and be the administrator for health and disability
insurance. Many City, County and K-12 schools have this type of relationship with DETF.
The UW is the single largest purchaser of health insurance of any state agency. In addition, the UW is
the only state agency that offers the Graduate Health insurance program. I believe that if separate
from DETF, the UW would receive competitive rates and better plan administration for active and
retired staff. In addition, the Legislature or Governor could eliminate policy coverage for women's
reproductive services or domestic partner benefits or who knows what else at will. If the UW was the
administrator of its own health plans, changes such as these may be more difficult to implement.
The current Disability Insurance programs, one for faculty and staff and one for Classified does not
make sense. In addition, the both programs are very difficult to administer. The HRS team confided to
me that the ICI program was the single most difficult part of the entire HRS project to implement. In
addition, the classified ICI program encourages and requires that all sick leave be exhausted before
benefits are paid. This policy is contrary to the other goal of sick leave, to provide health insurance
coverage upon retirement.
UIA University Insurance Association: Eliminate this program. This is the $24.00 a year premium plan,
that offers a decreasing term insurance that pays $4500.00 in benefits at age 67 with no spouse or
dependent coverage. State Group Life or Individual and Family Life Insurance offer better rates and
better coverage. In contrast, UIA is a Board of Regents mandated and mandatory insurance that seems
to exist solely for the annual meeting of the Board of Directors and the dinner that follows.
Please consider adding dependent tuition benefits and a semester's maternity leave for faculty to the
These two benefits are standard at nearly all universities, and it is really inconceivable that UWM does
not offer such benefits.
I suggest that a two-tiered benefits system be put in place for Trade employees. Right now, only about
25% of statewide trade employees participate in the state's health plan. Otherwise, the uniform
benefits recommendation should also apply to trade employees.
I suggest that one way to increase compensation and in some cases, solvency, for those of us at the
bottom tier of the wage scale in the system is to institute a scaled benefits cost system.
I mean, that for health care in particular that one payment should not fit all in terms of compensation.
When the cost of our insurance went up by a percentage it hit us at the bottom much harder than
those at the top of the scale. What was an 8% loss of compensation for me was a loss of less than 1%
for others. When we're talking about my wages, which UWM research have found to be over 25%
below market wages for someone in my position with a degree, then it is a significant loss. It pushed
me close to the poverty line last year.
That said, I believe that those who make more should pay more in terms of actual dollars when it
comes to health care costs. There could be a flat percentage of income paid by all staff, faculty and
administration. I say that realizing that this would not work unless there was some sort of dollar
maximum (which would still mean that a small percentage of the highest paid staff would still pay a
lower percentage of income than the rest.) Conversely, there might be some of the lowest wage scales
Effective dates should be first of the month following 30 days of employment for all classifications.
First of the month following start date allows for too much adverse selection as I would assume
turnover is higher in the first 60 days of employment.
Benefits eligibility should stand on its own merit and be specific to part-time or full-time status and not
tied to WRS eligibility at all.
Allow carryover max of 100 hours each year.
Sick leave should continue to accrue based on a per hour compensated accrual system. Sick leave
accrual rate should be cut in half. The simple fact that an employee accrues more sick time than
Current ICI program should be terminated and replaced with separate offerings of a short term
disability plan (STD) and a long term disability plan (LTD).
Eliminate the current multiple life insurance plans and offer one plan that provides all employees 1 x
base rate for free. In addition, a supplemental option of the same plan should allow employees to
purchase up to 4 X base rate at their own cost and a spouse /dependent option of 10K and 5K at their
Eliminate EPIC benefits as it is redundant to already existing options.
Eliminate sabbatical and vacation cash out options.
While I realize UPS was told that UW would continue to participate in WRS and the state group health
plan and that changes to these areas are not allowed, I can find nothing in Wisconsin Statute 36.115
that prohibits this from being on the table.
UWM should be allowed to procure its own health insurance. The current program through ETF is
unmanaged, expensive and inefficient. It is a misnomer that through a larger group, better rates are
obtained. Better rates are obtained through claims management. The plan should be self insured as
opposed to the current fully insured model. This alone will save 3-7% of cost. Conservative estimate is
$3-5 mm in annual savings for this campus alone. Specific wellness programs should be infused in the
plan and offer financial incentive for participation in the form of lower employee contributions.
WRS participation should be voluntary with a stepped contribution ladder in equal percents up to 6%.
Each percent would be matched.
Academic Staff should not have to take leave time if they leave early after working more than 40 hours
in a given week. The "day-by-day" method of monitoring hours is an unfair practice.
The system currently in place gives people in "professional" classified categories the advantage of
converting their vacation leave into cash when they are here 5 years. Their salary is much higher, so it's
a big benefit, while I (a Program Assistant-Advanced-Confidential) have to wait 10 years or until I reach
520 hours of sick leave. How is this fair? I'm hoping to see the same benefit with the new system.
I would love to see free tuition for all employees, even if it is for one class per semester. This is a win-
win for everyone. Campus gets a motivated and educated employee, employee gets promotions based
Create or expand Leave of Absence allowances that include situations where employees are taking lave
to care for siblings.
I agree that paying everyone on a bi-weekly pay schedule is a worthy goal.
I would prefer a monthly pay schedule for all employees. I think a monthly schedule makes it easier for
employees to keep track of their personal cash flows.
If employees are paid bi-weekly, I believe we should be paid on the same days of each month. For
example, on the first day of the month and then again on the fifteenth day. This would make it easier
for employees to budget for their families. Otherwise, a monthly paycheck would be preferable.
Instituting a bi-weekly payroll period for all employees would be very beneficial to the UW-Milwaukee
Payroll Department. Having all employees paid bi-weekly would result in fewer off-cycle payments,
which would cut down on the copious amounts of time these payments take to administer.
I agree that maximum flexibility should be given to each institution in determining pay rates, especially
as it relates to market studies. An employee in Milwaukee performing the same duties as someone in
Stevens Point should not necessarily be paid the same rate.
Any flexibility to address local labor markets, such as cost of living and other factors, would be
appreciated. Pay rates may need to vary agency-to-agency, as economic conditions are fluid and differ
I think rules should be more flexible for employees that are funded by extramural research grants. In
research, market salaries vary widely and are not comparable across disciplines. Furthermore, if the
grant is extramurally funded, the principal investigator has strong incentives both to pay enough in
order to attract the best candidates, and also not to pay too much and thereby exhaust the grant.
Hence salary ranges are unnecessary. Furthermore, salary increases or decreases ought to be allowed
at any time, rather than just once a year. Oftentimes, a salary change is warranted in order to keep
A clear description and timeline of the changes to benefits procedures brought on by the UPS project
should be published as soon as decisions are finalized, particularly any changes going in effect as soon
I am very concerned about the delays any major changes to payroll procedures, such as paying all
employees bi-weekly, would cause in an already-slow process. Several employees working under me
have had to wait for nearly one month before being able to punch in because of paperwork issues that
held the process up. I suspect that improvements in our payroll process are going to be necessary in
Revisit the May Multiple process for 9 month employees. Take summer insurance deductions on all
paychecks, regardless if we continue to pay on a monthly basis or move everyone to a biweekly
Take health insurance premiums on the A and B biweekly checks.
Move everyone to the highest earnings level of the current Classified, A-Basis or C-Basis leave
schedules. Move everyone to the same leave accrual schedule, either Fiscal or Calendar year based,
depending on what works best in HRS. Eliminate initial entitlement of sick leave.
One thing concerning about "merit pay" is that it can be misused to reward only the powerful and
those people that are so "valuable" that they are already making huge amounts of money.
The idea of pay increases for additional skills, education or training is a good idea. The union pay raises
suck because one year they will pick one group and if you have just transferred out of that group you
lose out on the pay raise, and new people to the University come in at higher pay than people who
have worked here over ten years and probably have more training, skills and job duties which they
Benefit and other deductions should be taken over each payroll in equal amounts.
Benefit deductions should be taken on a current basis as opposed to one month in advance. This
would reduce the number of refunds the Service Center makes significantly and also aids in the overall
understanding of benefits for employees.
Retro deductions should be doubled until full amount is recovered instead of the current practice of
trying to take all retro deductions owed on a single paycheck. This should also be the process for “May
In theory, I like the idea of greater flexibility with respect to compensation, but in practice, worry that it
will create problems/difficulty in ensuring equity across various departments.
Merit raises scare me when management is so obviously biased against anyone who is willing to
present new ideas or define problems. Everyone in my group takes these as personal attacks not
Due to the fact that classified staff has been on a pay freeze for so long - it would be nice to hear the
thoughts on salary increases, back pay, percentages, or anything that has been discussed in this area.
Recruitment and Assessment
I love the idea of having more flexibility built into recruitments, especially for classified positions.
Having the freedom to create a process that works for us, while still adhering to the law, is long
The random-rank system for Custodian recruitments needs to be eliminated.
It is important for UW-Milwaukee to have as much autonomy as possible in the recruitment process to
meet the unique needs of our campus.
At the present time we are not able to be considered for jobs above our classification w/o taking
additional exams. It acts as a powerful obstacle for advancing. Also, I am completing my MS degree this
year and yet, when I applied for a related position on campus, I wasn't even given an interview. It
would seem that our own staff believe the education we get here is sub-par. I think, if one has been
working here and gets a degree from here, they should be given the courtesy of an interview. (I will
NOT apply here again - so if you're at all concerned about retaining talent, this should change)
Focus in classified recruitments should be on hiring the best candidate for the job not the current
practice of passing along candidates to the hiring manager who “score” the highest based on a model
that rewards points for things other than experience.
I am in favor of giving LTEs an opportunity to be considered for permanent positions that become
available on campus before outside candidates are considered. This only seems fair to those who do
the same work as permanent employees, but for much less money.
One issue that needs to be addressed is whether or not Academic Staff positions will require a degree under UPS.
I would like future recommendations to address whether or not new Academic Staff employees will be
required to hold a degree. This issue should also be explored if Classified exempt employees become
Academic Staff; some of them may not hold degrees.
An employee’s current direct supervisor should be excluded from the interview process.
If a classified recruitment is opened up to outside candidates it should remain that way and late
transfer (internal) applicants should not be considered.
More information is needed on what guidelines might exist for classified employees transferring
to/from a non-UW state agency. In particular, how the transfer application process will differ from the
Mandatory transfers should be allowed for classified employees under the new personnel system, and
seniority should be the primary determinant of which candidate is hired when more than one person
applies for transfer into a vacant position. Long-term employees deserve to have these opportunities.
There definitely needs to be a continuation of seniority dates and related benefits if one transfers to
another UW-System position.
I understand about changing the mandatory transfer, as I never felt comfortable with that myself. I
would rather work for people who wanted me as an employee than for those who felt that they had no
I would love to see a process for transferring to other state agencies because we have so many
transferable skills that could enhance their areas. It would not be fair if we were not considered for
Current employees should be exempted from probationary periods after transferring to a new
position, as long as they passed their original probation. The ultimate responsibility for the permissive
transfer decision should be put on the manager or supervisor hiring the employee.
I would like to see a change that allows operational staff to apply for academic staff positions without a
degree. This would open up avenues for some very talented individuals and for the university.
Apprenticeships or training for advancement is a good idea. Sometimes a person can be good at
something and not know it, or else find they do not like the job they hold.
The performance evaluations for Academic Staff are very cumbersome and too free-form. They are
more akin to writing a paper for a college course than documenting someone's performance, and do
not provide adequate structure for either the employee or supervisor to focus on the job expectations.
A mix between the current classified staff employee evaluations (where the PD is broken into
measurable pieces) and the academic staff eval (allowing for some lists/comments) may be a good way
to move forward. Reading the comment within the recommendations that says "Performance
evaluations are not done consistently or not done at all," made me think of how much I dread
evaluation season for this very reason. have shared governance rights.
I believe that Union Employees should
A better, more affordable child care service is needed at UWM. I find it very hard to justify a child care
service for employees that drains a great portion (if not all) of the employee's take home pay! An
improvement here is necessary - we want to keep quality workers and make it so families are able to
afford these things, PLUS maybe those children will later become UW-Milwaukee students in the
Due to budget limitations, it is impossible for us to start new employees before their predecessors
leave. An overlap in appointments would be very beneficial in the training and onboarding process for
new hires. If anything can be done to make this type of overlap more feasible, it would be greatly
An improvement in the UW-Milwaukee employee mentoring program is greatly needed. Under our
current system, new employees have very little contact with their mentors after the first meeting with
My recommendation is to have a tracking system to ensure that employees are receiving the
at the appropriate intervals (1 week, 1 month, 6 months, etc.) A system that prompts the supervisor or
specific training is needed or has not yet been completed would be ideal. This would assist with
There's talk of more lenient work-from home option. This would probably be granted to many higher
paid classifieds moving to non-academic staff. Since I'm a program asst advanced confidential, I'm
expected to work 8 solid hours and I assume would never be granted this perk. I would like to know
how you would account for fairness for those coworkers who will be moved into non-academic staff
and those who are non-academic staff already. I see these coworkers taking 1 hour plus breaks every
day, and a low workload to be able to do it, and count this as part of their 8hr day. "Working from
home" we all know is a gigantic perk, no one is actually tied to a desk for 8 hrs, and they would also get
the huge perk in supervisor training andand travel-to-work transportation costs. Doesn't bode well for
Improvement of not taking travel time employee onboarding is needed.
It is important for classified employees to have governance rights. They must also have someone they
can turn to when they believe that their supervisor or manager is violating rules.
Building Trades employees are very skeptical of UPS' goal of consistency. People who work in Building
Trades positions are not treated the same as other state employees, especially in the area of benefits.
Instead of referring to non-Madison institutions as "Balance of", use:
Remainder of UW System; All other UW System; UW System, excluding UW Madison.
University Personnel Guidelines will have to be re-written to accommodate changes brought by UPS.
Instead of fixed-term terminal, appointments with expectation of continuing employment should be
It is important for a plan to be in place for making modifications to the new UPS in the event that
collective bargaining rights are restored. This does not appear to have been taken into consideration.
A major part of providing equitable treatment to employees is through the budgeting process. Money
and resources should be divided in a way that allows all employees to benefit from educational and
professional development, as well as pay raises when possible.
I am very pleased with the work and effort going into the creation of UPS. A lot of good ideas and
plans seem to be in the works, and I believe it is the start of something new and exciting. However,
with the recall election happening I am concerned with the outcome of that and how it will play into
this work. I would be disappointed to see this work be stalled over changes that may be made.
All TBS items, and there are a lot, should have a more specific timeline for developing answers. The
final recommendations should also be specific.
Simply stating that UPS is a new plan that will not be additionally funded is not enough. I would like
there to be ideas or plans on how we can work to get these major issues funded. Otherwise, it seems
like a lot of work to be done that cannot be utilized because of funding issues.
I would like to see more information as to why cutting ties with OSER would be a beneficial move for the UW syste
I would like there to be an open discussion about the UPS system. Maybe a simple moderated question
and answer session.
I would like to see the open forums continue during the next phase of the project. It would be helpful if
more time were provided for questions and answers, perhaps after each topic instead of holding all
Impact of Problem, Symptom or Limitation (if provided)
Savings in operational expenses and an improvement in employee morale may result from
the implementation of this recommendation. Also, it is difficult to get shift coverage from
any student workers on this day.
Employees might lose their personal holiday hours.
Current policies create a disparate treatment of employees; new Classified employees
cannot take vacation time in their first 6 months, whereas Academic Staff can take vacation
Current system lacks flexibility and does not allow the research position to be tailored to
Administratively, the current arrangement does not work well. I fail to see any value that
DETF adds to health insurance administration for UW Employees. More often than not,
DETF is a roadblock to efficient administration. To keep three sets of databases in sync,
(DETF, UW-Service Center & Health Carrier) for 34,500 health insurance contracts to be an
impossible task that results in poor customer service.
Both programs are very difficult to administer.
Those who can pay more, should. Otherwise, the exodus of talent, dedication, and
knowledge will continue at UW-Milwaukee. I know 25 people who have left UWM since the
budget came into effect. I know 15 more planning on it. And I am looking to do the same.
Current WRS program is incomprehensible and matriarchal.
Lack of flexibility makes it difficult to:
a. attract top talent
b. manage grant money
While IE is a worthy policy, it is very difficult to administer due to FTE changes and Leave of
Absences. I am not sure that having IE results in attracting and retaining staff.
This may create a larger income gap and eventually lead to class revolt, as the
occupy movement has given us warning about.
The current classified recruitment process is far too lengthy and complicated, causing staff-
shortages that might otherwise be brief to become lengthy and debilitating for
Random-rank is ineffective in garnering the most qualified candidates for our positions and
gives even the most experienced applicants little hope of being interviewed.
Current system acts as a powerful obstacle for advancing and does not reward educational
a degree under UPS.
It is a conflict of interest. If the employee is doing a good job the supervisor looses an
integral part of his operations. If the supervisor sees the newly promoted employee as a
potential competitor for future promotions, a self-serving negative vote and influence can
Performance evaluations are not done consistently or not done at all
The cost of child care services at UW-Milwaukee are financially crippling to
employees, and are driving some quality workers away.
Current program leaves some participants feeling ignored.
It is currently difficult for supervisors and directors to remain updated on employee training
histories, particularly if they are new to their position or are assigned to supervise a new
group of people. Employee Development was mentioned in the forum, but that is a self-
monitored recording system that does not tell employees what they need and when they
ove for the UW system.
(in cases of