The FA's DRC voted 29-1 tonight to set a strike deadline for 11/3. Details beneath the break.
PRESS RELEASE 10/20/2011
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Faculty Association
The SIUC Faculty Association (FA) voted tonight to set a strike deadline of Thursday, November 3, for tenured and tenure-track faculty at SIUC. The vote, taken by the Departmental Representatives Council, calls for a strike to commence on November 3 unless the FA's bargaining team reaches a tentative agreement with the SIUC administration before that date.
“Our goal is a fair settlement the promotes quality education at SIUC, not a strike,” said FA spokesperson Associate Professor Dave Johnson. “We’ve shown great patience by waiting this long. We have offered many different proposals in hopes of bridging the gap between the FA and the SIUC administration, and it is now time for the administration to show similar flexibility in order to allow us to reach an agreement and avert a strike.”
Negotiations to reach a new contract began in April of 2010, and SIUC faculty have now been working for 477 days without a contract. In the spring of 2011, the SIUC administration chose to shut down negotiations and impose a unilateral set of demands upon faculty. Negotiations resumed over the summer, but very little progress was made, leading FA members to vote on September 28, by an overwhelming margin, to authorize their elected representatives on the Departmental Representatives Council to initiate a strike.
“Even with our strike authorization vote, we've yet to see major progress on the most important issues,” Johnson said. “This lack of progress has forced us to set a strike deadline and to be prepared to go on strike if we must.”
In order to help resolve the current crisis, the FA bargaining team has offered to postpone resolution in several important areas, including a conflict of interest policy and a long overdue revision of SIUC's procedure for dealing with accusations of sexual harassment, provided that these issues either be bargained to a resolution within a set time frame or submitted to binding arbitration.
But the FA and administration remain divided on issues of great importance to the future of SIUC, issues that must be resolved now for any contract to be signed. The FA remains committed to defending academic freedom and quality education by preserving faculty tenure and the right and responsibility of faculty members to teach their courses in the way they judge most beneficial to their students. The FA remains committed to preserving its collective bargaining rights, rights undermined last spring when the SIUC administration illegally imposed terms on campus unions. The FA is willing to help SIUC meet its financial challenges, but is committed to establishing a process that guarantees transparency and accountability in doing so.
“Our goal has never changed,” Johnson said. “We want a fair agreement that will promote faculty research and creative work and enable faculty to continue to provide our students with the high-quality education they deserve. The administration's decision to impose terms on us last spring, and their unwillingness, thus far, to do their fair share to bridge the divide between us, has brought us to this point. We call upon all involved to work with us to reach a mutual agreement in time to avoid a strike.”