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Chancellor Cheng, we have learned over these 480+ days to listen less to what you say than to what you leave out. It's always those pesky little details that trip you up. This case is no different.
Can you see what's missing, Chancellor? Come on, you can say it. Here, let me help. The policy in the contract says: "...this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect until after the expiration date and until a new agreement is reached..." Now Chancellor, are the current terms we are (er, were) working under an extension of the 2006-2010 Agreement? Didn't you add something? Didn't you modify that earlier agreement and impose new terms?
Why, yes. Yes, you did. Why is it so hard for you to say that part? Why do you drop out that little detail? It seems so important.
So let's add in the rest of the missing bits. With all four unions, the Administration submitted to involving a federal mediator, stayed firmly resolute for the required time period until the mediator withdrew specifically because the Administration was unwilling to negotiate, and then imposed not an extension of the old contract but a new one. Despite the four unions representing four very different bargaining units with very different issues of concern, the Administration's unilateral declaration of impasse for each is remarkably similar. That's because it was following the same tried and (not so) true strategy of academic union-busting now known as "Impasse to Impose."
Yes, Chancellor Cheng, the unions followed the letter of the law in preparing for the strike. That law requires them to indicate their refusal to abide by the terms of the "Agreement." In fact, it requires them to call it an "Agreement." The unions also followed the law when they filed an Unfair Labor Practices complaint because you, well, didn't follow the law when you imposed new contracts instead of extending the old ones. Throughout this process, the unions have followed the law, while the Administration has hedged and hemmed and otherwise tried to get around such pesky details.
It's a rather clever double bind you are trying to catch the unions in. If they don't file a 10 day warning that they withdraw from the "Agreement," their strike is illegal. If they do, you can play "gotcha" about their having been under an "Agreement." But take it from a Speech guy: your Sophistry is WAAAAYYYY too transparent.
All four unions have protested ever calling what we've been under since March/April an "Agreement," which you very well know. But, unfortunately for you, the unions are no fools. They choose to keep their labor actions legal and endure your equivocations with terms.
This is true, each of the four unions did not have a general membership vote on the false dilemmas you offered them. Their representative bodies reviewed the steaming pile of..."contract" you offered and chose not to honor such nonoptions with a vote. There was no outrage among the membership. There was no exodus of members, either (quite the opposite, actually). Instead, all four unions declared quite legally their intent to strike; the unions also filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint that is still pending. Don't forget either of those pesky little details.
If you need reminding of votes, remember that one month ago all four unions voted with overwhelming majorities to authorize a strike. If you or whomever you are trying to persuade with your Swiss cheese memory of our recent history needs confirmation that the unions are acting on the will of their members, look no further back than that.
But so, thank-you Chancellor Cheng for confirming why it is that the employees at this university cannot simply trust the Administration. There is a strike fast approaching and it will likely do significant harm to this university. The unions would like very much to avoid that. But we cannot do so if you will not negotiate in good faith, if you will not put clear language in our contracts that allows transparency and accountability. And we really cannot avoid a strike if, with less than a week to go, this is the best you've got as a defense for the Administration's deplorable and probably illegal bargaining tactics.