Anonymous 10:31 argued that the FA was willing to "throw faculty under the bus" by allowing layoffs. The FA opposed both furloughs and layoffs because neither was required, in our judgment (I helped form it), by the fiscal situation; either, in other words, would be an administrative decision to shift money from faculty to other priorities (Saluki Way, "professional non-faculty" staffers, etc.--check out the FA White Papers). So this wasn't the only move possible to balance the budget—which is how it was presented to us. The FA thus rejects the premise 10:31 relies on. Whether furloughs or layoffs were necessary because the administration was going to get them come hell or high water is of course another issue--which the level of faculty support for the FA will largely determine. If you think the administration should be allowed to determine what is necessary, including shifting resources from academics to other things, without negotiating with the faculty, then the FA is indeed not for you.
In other words, we're trying to stop the damn bus, rather than urging everyone to jump in front of it in the hopes that all of us will escape with only a broken limb or two.
To the argument that the FA only represents a vocal few. Would the FA be stronger with more support? You betcha. Is a volunteer organization (which one must in fact pay significant dues to join at all) going to be led by a fairly small group of people dedicated to its principles (i.e., committed to unions and what they stand for, or at least zealots for robust shared governance)? Yesiree.
Perhaps I'm becoming too hardened in my position on this, but it seems to me that we need to make a choice. I suspect the majority of the faculty are trying to maintain two inconsistent desires (this doesn't necessarily include Anonymous 10:31, who may be a more consistent opponent of the faculty union). They are glad to have a faculty union on campus, as they don't trust the administration, but they aren't willing to join the union, as they don't fully trust it, either (and may well not be terribly eager to pay dues). Then, when things heat up, their response is "a plague on both your houses". That's my guess as to the reasoning of the "silent majority"--the majority who are indeed pretty silent.
Well, we're all in the same house, whether we want to be or not. I think we'd be better off if we faculty decided whether we wanted a union or not. If we want a union, we should join it. If we don't, we should push decertification. Trying to have it both ways guarantees that we will have a union that will be both less moderate and weaker than it would be if all faculty belonged (or all besides a few conscientious objectors to unionization). The administration then concludes it can paint the union as extreme and weak, and pushes its own agenda at the risk of provoking a strike and with the certainty of causing turmoil and strife on campus.
I suppose the logic of my argument would require a vote by all faculty along these lines: decertify the union or retain it, with fair share. I don't claim to have a good read on how that vote would go. But I suspect neither the union leadership nor the administration would be eager for such a vote. If faculty are unwilling not only to vote for but to pay for the union, that would be the end of the union. The administration would fear having to deal with a strong & representative union, rather than one it can pretend doesn't exist, or only represents a few radicals. Our bizarre situation, in which faculty have a union but don't have to pay for it, and therefore can say it doesn't represent them, strikes me as a compromise that serves nobody well. So in my view forcing faculty to choose one side or the other is the true moderate position. Holding inconsistent positions doesn't make you moderate. It just makes you confused.