For anyone who hasn't seen it, the full FA statement (which has yet to appear on the FA website) can be found after the break.
In Chancellor Rita Cheng's message of March 31, she repeatedly says that the Faculty Association has "insisted on" or "demanded" the contract terms in its "final position." These statements are just untrue. The most charitable conclusion to be drawn from such statements is that the Chancellor is out of touch with what has been happening in bargaining.
Consistent with the Faculty Association's commitment to interest based bargaining, our bargaining team has presented multiple options on the issues before us, and to the end of the mediation session on March 29, the team has expressed its willingness to consider alternatives to its proposals. The answer our team received through the mediator was that the Board team had no interest in addressing any of the Association options other than to reject them. The Board is the sole party to have made a final demand in its "Last, Best, and Final Offer."
The Chancellor's message may have left the mistaken impression that the Association team had rejected the offer made by the Board team because the administration did not agree to our proposals. This is not the case. At the bargaining table your team was presented with a take-it-or- leave-it proposal. Make no mistake about it, your team rejected the offer because of its unacceptable terms and its glaring omissions.
The unacceptable terms contained in the rejected contract offer include:
- A provision on Reduction in Force (i.e., layoffs) that would eviscerate tenure on our campus;
- A provision on furloughs that amounts to salary reductions at the whim of the Administration, without objective criteria or justification for their necessity.
- Workload equity, such as contract provisions to deal with credit for contact hours vs. credit hours or mechanisms to ensure a meaningful shared governance role for Faculty in amending department operating papers to include workload equivalencies;
- Equitable overload policies and compensation;
- Workload issues and an academic year appointment option for faculty in the Library;
- Sexual harassment complaint and investigation procedures, guaranteeing the rights of both the complainant and the respondent, and establishing mechanisms for accountability and fairness in the application of policies on sexual harassment;
- Distance learning language to address the rapid developments and progress in this area that have occurred since the last contract;
- Transparent policies and procedures regarding conflict of interest and conflict of commitment, compliant with state and federal requirements, and consistent with the needs of faculty engaging in outside consulting and other activities;
- Plans to address the cost of living, salary equity, and salary compression.
In the coming days, the Faculty Association will present information which will present the options and proposals regarding these issues in greater detail. Meanwhile, several documents from bargaining, including the Board's final offer, can be accessed in the bargaining information section of the Faculty Association web site www.siucfa.org. Also coming soon is more information about what the latest developments in bargaining mean for faculty, including the imposition of the terms of the Board offer, the next steps for faculty and the Faculty Association, and the ultimate negotiation of a fair contract settlement.
SIUC FAculty Association, IEA-NEA