gateway technical education association

Category: GTEA

gtea related items

General Membership Poll

GTEA recently re-certified with 96% of the vote!
Now we get to polling the general membership on their viewpoints on subjects like MERIT PAY for future negotiations.


If you do not receive a survey in the near future, and do not have a personal (non-GTC) email on record with the GTEA,  please contact any of the GTEA representatives to share that info with us.

Your voice is GTEA’s voice!




“Performance Based Funding” Backfires Should be Rolled Back, Not Expanded

In his 2015 state budget, Governor Walker redirected 30% of Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) state funding into a “performance based” model. Under this system, colleges must show specific outcomes in seven areas, out of a possible ten, to receive any of this state funding.  Colleges compete with each other for funds from this pool.
Walker had planned to make all state funding dependent on performance based criteria, but significant push back from technical college advocates limited it to 30%. Research reviews of similar programs in other states have shown that performance based funding does little good and probably backfires by undermining funding for colleges that serve more economically disadvantaged students.
In his current 2017-19 budget proposal, Walker has proposed to further reduce the flexibility of our tech colleges to choose criteria that best fit their student populations, communities and program mixes. He has proposed that each college have to show success in all 10 outcomes, not the current 7 of 10. This change would further harm many of our technical colleges since not all colleges serve the same demographics and populations.
Email your state legislator today. Tell him/her that performance based funding has limited value and should be reduced or eliminated, not expanded or made more rigid.
Further Background:
2013 Act 20 (the 2013-15 biennial budget), established a new funding model for WTCS by moving toward 30% of general state aid to technical colleges dependent on specific “performance measures”
The 2013 funding model established nine statutory criteria:
1)  Job placement rates (% of graduates working in their field of study or # of graduates working in their field of study)
2)  Degrees and certificates awarded in high demand fields (# of WTCS-recognized degrees and diplomas awarded in Top 50 “high demand fields” as updated by the WI Department of Workforce Development)
3)  Programs or courses with industry-validated curriculum (# of active programs and # of programs with Phase 2 TSA Approval)
4)   Transition of adult basic education students to skills training (# of ABE/ELL students who complete a post-secondary course)
5)  Success rate of adults in basic education courses ((# of adults served through ABE and ELL and # of ABE students who showed educational gains)
6)  Participation in dual enrollment programs (# credits earned through all types of dual enrollment)
7)  Workforce training provided to businesses and individuals (# of credits earned through Employer Paid Training, Apprenticeship, Professional Development Seminars and Customized Instruction Contracts)
8)  Participation in collaboration or efficiency initiatives (Total # FTEs College participation in statewide collaborations)
9)  Training provided to special populations or demographic groups unique to the district  (# of Pell grant, minority, veteran, incarcerated, dislocated worker and disabled students)
A tenth outcomes-based criteria was added in 2015/17:
10) Credit for prior learning (# credits awarded for experiential learning)
Currently, each technical college selects 7 of the 10 criteria on which to be judged.
Jim Zylstra, executive vice president of WTCS who oversees outcomes-based funding, has stated that two criteria that are NOT part of the performance based funding for technical colleges are 1) the number of students successfully transferring to four-year colleges, and 2) number of students who successfully complete police and firefighter training programs.  This in particular hits certain colleges who exceed and excel in these two areas.
Scott Walker had wanted the Performance Based criteria to grow to 100% of the tech colleges’ funding, but there was considerable push back that anything beyond 30% would be extremely volatile and would discourage new programs from starting. What did get passed was 10% of state funding allocated via these performance based criteria in 2014-15; 20% in 2015-16; and 30% in 2016-17.   
One big question is whether, after this school year, funding reverts back to 0% or 30% or some other percentage. In his state budget proposal, Walker has proposed maintaining the 30% and making the criteria more narrow and rigid, with no college choice of criteria to be used. The reconfigured criteria would be:
  1. 10.5% of funding based on: participation in dual enrollment programs and the development and implementation of a policy to award course credit for educational experience and training not obtained through an institution of higher education.
  2. 10.5% of funding based on: student placement in jobs related to the students’ programs of study; number of degrees and certificates awarded in high-demand fields, as jointly determined by DWD and the TCS Board; number of programs or courses with industry-validated curriculum; and workforce training provided to businesses and individuals.
  3. 6% of funding based on: number of adults served by specified basic adult education, skills, and training courses and the success rate of adult students completing the courses; transition of adult students from basic education to skills training; and training and other service provided to special populations or demographic groups that are unique to a technical college district.
  4. 3% of funding based on: participation in statewide or regional collaboration or efficiency initiatives.
Performance based funding is hurting the largest technical colleges the most because past funding was based on total student population and they have lost significant dollars under this program.  The largest technical colleges also have the most diverse populations attending their colleges; therefore, this program hurts people who can afford it the least.  For example the number of economically disadvantaged students is 8 percent at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and almost seven times that – or 53 percent – at Milwaukee Area Technical College according to WTCS report for 2017.
Under current funding models, some increases have come in the form of short-term funding in some high employment programs, but these fast paced training models have never been successful with nontraditional students who have struggled in high school or have been out of school or the workforce for a long time. Suddenly launching them into an intensive 40 hour a week, 8 week training program nets few successes.  This funding also drains money away from other programs in the college.
About the only thing we did learn from these programs was cited in the WTCS report in 2017-19 Biennial Budget Initiative on Outcome Based Funding.  Success was achieved by the use of ABE/ELL instructors team teaching with occupational instructors 50% of time to achieve very high completion rates.  This type of practice requires a stable and increased budget.
We need an increase in state funding for all so that we can continue to add employees to the skilled workforce, have students transition to four year colleges, and have students map out a pathway to success through pre-college and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses to program completion and jobs.
Nicholas Hillman, a UW-Madison education professor who researched the idea of performance based funding when it was proposed for the UW system has reported that a review of 12 studies showed little or no improvement in the graduation rates or number of degrees awarded in states.  This seems to be another reason to advocate for less funding through the Performance based system and more through the existing WTCS state aid formula. 


The following is from the email sent out by PAST-PRESIDENT Jay Johnson. It should have also been in all GTEA members’ emails (in fact all GTC employees should have  also received a similar email, since non-members may still vote in favor of GTEA representation).


Dear GTEA Bargaining Unit Members-

You are receiving this email because you are part of GTEA’s Bargaining Unit and therefore eligible to cast your vote to recertify GTEA. Thank you for your overwhelming support the last two years. We ask you to please vote YES to recertify our bargaining unit. For more information about GTEA, please see the below email.

Alternatively, you may vote by phone by calling (866) 458-9862 (toll-free).  You may vote 24/7.

  • Do not log off or hang-up until after your vote is confirmed.
  • Unlike any other election, if you abstain from voting, you will be counted as a “No” vote.
  • Your vote remains confidential:  Neither Gateway Technical College nor GTEA are told specifically whether you voted to recertify.
  • Recertification maintains a legal relationship between GTC and the faculty through our organization, GTEA.
  • Recertification maintains employees’ rights to have a collective, protected voice with our employer.
  • Voting begins today, April 5 at noon, and ends on April 25 at noon.  Please do not delay.

If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please contact Suzanne Sublette (GTEA President), Jay Johnson (GTEA Past President), GTEA Officers, or your Campus Representatives.

Again, here is the link to cast your vote online:

Solidarity–and thank you for your support,

Jay Johnson
GTEA Past President


from Region 7 WEAC


WEAC/GTEA members should be receiving the REGION 7 email updates from Ted at their email address of record. If you are not, please notify Ted and/or  GTEA reps. This update is particularly important, so please click the link to be taken to the site if you have NOT received it…


Scott Walker’s budget proposal in February was substantially better than his prior budgets which slashed funding for our schools, universities, healthcare and other vital services. 
Now, the next crucial step in the budget process is at hand. The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is holding public hearings throughout the state, including at State Fair Park, this Wednesday. 
Now is a crucial time. Our state legislators need to hear from us.
While at least restoring some of the money slashed from education in his previous budgets, Walker’s proposal is loaded with poison pills, including sticking it to educators again with a requirement to raise health care costs and a provision that would effectively end employee rights…
[please click here to read the full text on WEAC’s site]


Suzanne Sublette

Thank you for your continued support of GTEA as dues-paying members.  You are the backbone of this organization, and the Council is committed to working to promote your best interests within all levels of unionism.  In an effort to improve communication and transparency, we will be sending out regular President’s Updates that detail the work of the Council.  This is the first Update in this new initiative. -SGS

April 2017

GTEA Officers continue to engage in efforts to expand reach and influence and build collaborative regional and national partnerships. 

Jay Johnson and Suzanne Sublette presented “What Happens When Collective Bargaining All But Disappears:  Trials and Triumphs in Higher Education Organizing Post-Act 10” at the NEA’s Leadership Summit in Orlando on February 26.    The presentation and round-table discussion drew in approximately 15 attendees.  All were leaders in their respective K-16 institutions.  In particular, we had a strong showing from Iowa. 

Jay Johnson, Nicole Binger, and Suzanne Sublette attended the NEA’s Higher Education Conference March 15-19 in Dallas, Texas. 

GTEA held six (6) on-campus Listening Sessions with the bargaining unit.  Nicole Binger, Jay Johnson, Jason Gerber, Ellen Pedraza, Lisa Packard, Lisa Kusko, Ann Stotts, Robin Rupp and Suzanne Sublette split up duties and lead these efforts to engage and communicate with the bargaining unit. 

The second installment of GTEA’s newsletter, Our Voice, went to print and was mailed on March 17.  Special thanks to Lisa Kusko, Jay Johnson, and Ellen Pedraza for all the work they have put in! Extra special thanks to Jason Gerber who handled the printing and mailing!!

Christopher Legel, President of Eastern Iowa Community College’s faculty local, contacted Suzanne regarding developing a partnership between GTEA and other Wisconsin locals and the Iowa locals. The goal of the partnership would be to share information and best practices with the goal of assisting the Iowa locals as they navigate the union landscape in the wake of anti-collective bargaining legislation.  Christopher and Suzanne will organize a April or May joint meeting, held in Iowa, between GTEA Council members, additional K-12 Wisconsin local leaders, and Iowa local leaders. 

To that end, we have received tentative approval for a $3,000 grant from the NEA to engage in these efforts. 

Colleen Aird (GTEA member and Instructor of Social Science) will attend the NEA RA in Boston as our Delegate.  The RA dates are July 1-5, 2017.

Jason Gerber and Suzanne Sublette will attend the WEAC RA as GTEA’s two Delegates.  The RA takes place in Stevens Point on Saturday, April 22, 2017. 

On behalf of Region 7 and GTEA, Jason and Ted participated in two joint AFT/NEA Technical Colleges Conference Calls related to the upcoming Wisconsin Budget.  The joint AFT/NEA team will develop a series of Action Alerts related to issues of concern for technical colleges.  Be on the lookout for those Action Alerts in the near future.  

In Solidarity-


Suzanne G. Sublette, PhD
President- Gateway Technical Education Association
Member-at-Large- National Council of Higher Education
Twitter: @suzannesublette

What are your rights at work?

justceYour supervisor asks to meet with you about an incident at work—maybe HR is involved, too. You fear you might be accused of wrongdoing, reprimanded, or even fired!
What do you do?

     You should know that union members still enjoy legal rights even though GTEA’s collective bargaining rights have been weakened. It’s important for you to understand these rights so you’re prepared if an incident arises.

     First, union members have the right to union representation at any time they have reason to believe a meeting with administration could lead to discipline. Known as Weingarten Rights, these rights entitle union members to:

  • Request that a union representative be present during the investigatory meeting
  • Request that such a meeting be postponed until a union representative can attend.

     However, administration retains the right to mandate that we attend meetings, even if union representation cannot be present.
If administration insists upon questioning a union member without union representation during an investigatory meeting, then it has committed an unfair labor practice and is open for legal action.

     In the meantime, though, employees need to protect their rights. If employees find themselves unrepresented in any meeting that could lead to discipline, then they are legally entitled to remain silent at the meeting. A standard response: “If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my GTEA Representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”

   In a meeting that could lead to disciplinary action where the request for representation has been denied, the employee legally cannot be disciplined by administration for refusal to respond to questioning.

     However, administration may require an employee to attend a disciplinary meeting without a union representative present. This type of meeting, held after an investigatory meeting has been completed, is one at which discipline is handed down to the employee, who is not expected to answer questions or provide additional information.

     Union members unsure of whether they need representation should consult their local rep:

Kenosha: Ellen Pedraza,;

Racine/iMet: Peter Pham,;

Elkhorn/Burlington: Lisa Packard packardlgtea;

All locations: Past President Jay Johnson, 414-699-4529 (cell) or jaypjohnson; President Suzanne Sublette, 773-206-5024 or

     While GTEA is always interested in hearing the thoughts of both dues paying and non-dues paying bargaining unit members, we cannot represent you in meetings unless you were a dues-paying member at the time of the incident leading to the investigatory meeting. This is yet another reason to join GTEA!


“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my GTEA Representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”

–Sample Weingarten statement

Message From the President


Challenge: Change your perceptions

Suzanne Sublette

Suzanne Sublette

“Hi,” said the little girl standing in the aisle of the airplane with the pink Hello Kitty roller carry-on.

     “Hi there,” I said back to her. We’d just parked at the gate, and passengers were hovering in the aisles, pulling their carry-on bags from the overhead bins. “Be careful. Don’t get hit by one of those suitcases.” I gently guided her back a step or two.

     She stepped forward again, stared at me, and asked, “Are you a Mommy?”

   “No, I’m not a Mommy.” I smiled at the official Mommy standing behind the child. I supposed it’s common for pre-school children to see 30-something women and assume we are Mommies. That’s part of schema development, my psychology colleagues would say. As children learn about the world, they group the people, places and things they encounter into understandable “boxes” or themes. As far as this little girl knew, women like me were all Mommies.

     “What are you then?” the little girl asked, confused.

   “I’m a daughter, just like you!” I replied.

   My answer did not sit well with the little girl. She continued to stare at me for a good 10 seconds.

     Suddenly, her expression shifted from friendly curiosity to brow-furrowed determination. “Wait a minute!” she exclaimed. “Are you a kid or not?”

     I could almost see the gears in her head turning. To her, a daughter was a little girl, just like her. I’d even said, “I’m a daughter, just like you!” But I didn’t have pig-tails or a bright pink Hello Kitty roller-case. I had a purse in my lap and cellphone clutched tightly in my hand. I looked like a Mommy! But since I just told her that I was “just like her,” didn’t that mean that I’d just told her I was a KID?

     “No,” I said, “I’m an adult.” Giggles ensued, the line of passengers moved forward, and the 5-year-old with the pink Hello Kitty carry-on marched away humming, apparently content with my answer.    

     I’m not sure if our conversation changed the little girl’s schema, but I know one day she will understand that all females are daughters and that not all women are Mommies. Then she will understand the world, its people, and her complex place in it a bit more fully.

     Disembarking, I mused over that conversation and realized the experience—seeing something new and being unsure of how to proceed—is common. When our schemas are challenged, we are forced to develop new schemas to account for the new experiences. I also realized how much my experiences on that trip challenged my own schemas.

     Flight 83 delivered me back home from the 2017 NEA National Leadership Summit in Orlando. In one jam-packed 72 hours, 2,000 educational union leaders from all over the country descended upon the land of oranges, Waffle Houses, and Disney images to discuss issues in our locals and states.

     Jay Johnson and I hosted a small breakout session for 15 conference attendees titled, “When Collective Bargaining All-But Disappears: Higher Education Organizing in Wisconsin Post Act 10.” We weren’t told ahead of time who had registered for our session, and given that we were on the schedule for Sunday morning at 8 a.m. (the last day of the conference), we thought nobody would show.

     We were wrong.

     Our small room was full. We went around the room and had folks introduce themselves. Boy, were we surprised by who we had!

     Of the 15 attendees, five were K-12 educators from Iowa who came for one reason: They wanted to know “what will happen to us now” that the Iowa Legislature just enacted a clone of Act 10.

     Fearful and apprehensive, but also defiantly speaking of upcoming court challenges, the Iowans wanted to know “how we managed to stay so successful for five years.” (Schema Challenge #1: Huh? Successful? They think we’re awesome? I mean, we lost 95% of our bargaining rights!)

     Another attendee was a K-8 online charter school union president. Yes, you read that right: an online charter school. (Schema Challenge #2: Aren’t charter schools the enemy? Isn’t online school a faddish, weirdo thing we hope goes away? Why are THEY here?)

     Another attendee introduced herself as the chief bargainer for the teachers contracted with the military to teach children on U.S. military bases around the world. (Schema Challenge #3: You mean those are real teachers on army bases? Doesn’t the U.S. government pay all of their room and board? What have they got to complain about?)

     The list goes on. But the important take-away is that what we think about our union, our organization, and what can and cannot be done or sought, is limited only by our experience and unwillingness to see other possibilities.

     Yes, given that GTEA recertifies, we will again seek a CPI-base wage increase for all bargaining unit members. (This year, CPI is 1.26%- 10 times greater than last year!) This is right now part of what we do and who we are. But that’s not all we do. That’s not all we are. And it’s most certainly not all we are capable of doing!

     We can do more than bargain with the College. We can work to address workplace problems. We can advise and support employees who are having issues with administration. We can work with other groups—union and non-union—to resist trends that work against fair pay and equitable workplaces.

     We can run projects both inside and outside the college. (Twice we arranged Affordable Care Act registration tables on campus so students could learn about their healthcare options.) We can collaborate with our kindred locals within Wisconsin and across the country. We can tell the Wisconsin story to all who will listen.

   We can do more. We can be more.

     GTEA is not a group of 15 council members. It is a large group of instructors, counselors, advisors, librarians and lab techs: We are you. You are us. We are the same.

     We are Labor.

     It’s my sincere hope that we can all revise our schemas and understand the inherent power our bargaining unit possesses—power that transcends our ability to simply seek a yearly base wage increase. We bargain one day a year. But we organize and advocate for Labor—our Labor and that belonging to others—and all other issues related to Labor 365 days a year.

     That is what GTEA does and will do in the future.

     So what can YOU do?

     Here are three critical steps you can take:

     First, support GTEA by voting YES to recertify come April.

     Second, if not presently a member, join GTEA.
Members’ dues support GTEA’s efforts at the local, state and national levels, and together, our funds build bridges of opportunity for outreach and growth.

     Third, GET INVOLVED!  GTEA will hold elections for the upcoming 2017-2018 year in June. Consider running for a Council position. Or consider working with GTEA’s Council on issues that we all care about. Together, we can work with like-minded community organizations to organize a march or hold a clothing or food drive for the holiday season.    

     Spread your wings with us! What about organizing a brown bag discussion group related to issues affecting our students? Or perhaps you’re interested in attending a regional, state or national meeting with our Labor colleagues. Got another idea? Let’s talk about it!

     Whether you are a Mommy, Daughter, Son, or Daddy, revise your schema. Understand that GTEA is our collective voice and vehicle for action.

     We are ALL Labor.

In Solidarity,


Suzanne Sublette has been an instructor of Sociology at Gateway for five years. She is also a member-at-large for the National Council of Higher Education. © 2014 Frontier Theme