Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Take Heed of Ohio, BOT

We've known all along that the real impetus behind the delay tactics of our contract negotiations was an attempt to bust or cripple the unions.  The Administration was counting on an anti-union wave that seemed to be sweeping the country a year ago.  They banked (and by "banked," I mean invested a LOT of money that we apparently cannot afford) on that sentiment being enough to continue their centralization of power and denial of collective bargaining.  Let's pause to contemplate these bad investments after the break...


As with so much in the last 500 days, they got the anti-union national sentiment idea wrong.  Just look to Ohio where a state-wide referendum on last year's attempt to limit collective bargaining just returned a solid vote in favor of unions, in favor of collective bargaining.

The spin has already begun in the comments section here and elsewhere that what the FA has gained at the negotiation table as a result of collective bargaining and our legal right to strike has been minimal and not worth a strike.  It is a dangerous argument to make.  If those concessions really are so minor, you have to wonder about an Administration that chose to play chicken with a strike instead of make such "minor" concessions in the first place. And of course, if they are not so minor (which is closer to the truth), then you have to concede there was a reason to strike and the FA has been successful.

We are back out on the line for yet another day when this whole issue could and should have been resolved by now. Our Administration continues to show a lack of vision and extreme pettiness as it draws out negotiations for another day.  Parents and students begin to document the ways the Administration has failed to deliver on its cavalier promises of "business as usual," sharing their views in a national petition supporting the SIUC faculty (see a sample of those comments here).  Students and community members also use the newly-reopened-for-comments SIUC Facebook page to share their stories of the failure of "business as usual" on the campus (check out posts here).

So what's holding up the resolution of this contract?  In part, a petulant and petty Administration determined to salvage something out of its investment in union busting.  Part of the back to work agreement insists on a vague and threatening stipulation that the Administration will "discipline" individuals for their strike behavior.  Given that this Administration has lied to its students and the rest of the community, not been able to deliver on "business as usual" or "qualified substitute instructors," censored its web presence, tried to limit the campus newspaper's ability to report, and generally wasted state monies pursuing an almost pathological vendetta against unions, maybe it is the Administration and its lack of leadership that needs to be disciplined.  I personally think paying the strikers for the important education they have provided the Administration and the community about the importance of quality education and collective bargaining would be an appropriate penalty for the Administration's gross mismanagement.

The BOT arrives today and we look forward to being quite noisy for them.  They can't be happy about the fact that their investment in union busting is going to return no real gains (quite the opposite, actually!).  But I encourage them to look at Ohio and stop throwing good money after bad.  It is time for the Administration to start working with the faculty instead of against them.  It is time for this contract negotiation to be resolved and for this strike to end!

101 comments:

  1. Union busting is disgusting - our students get it. Does Mike Eichholz?

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  2. If the administration wanted to bust the FA, they would agree to fair share. If all faculty had to pay for the FA, it wouldn't exist.

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  3. The administration was all about busting the unions. When they tried to fragment them by settling with ACsE, GAU and NTTFA and leaving the FA out there by themselves, they failed to understand the resolve behind the movement. They were planning on no resistance. Little did they know....in more ways than one. And, of course, Mr. metro is spouting more vitriolic comments in today's Southern Illusion. He really doesn't get it, does he? Glad he's not negotiating for anything!! His tunnel vision would drive the whole thing off the cliff!

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  4. I'm a student at SIUC. I've also become an active Facebook user lately. It's been an amazing activist tool for pro-faculty union students. Of course there have also been counter (anti-union) responses. Unfortunately, many of the anti-union responses are not backed by evidence or facts. The students posting them seem to be regurgitating what their anti-union faculty have been telling them in the classroom. On the other hand, the pro-faculty students are the most educated, intellectual and informed students I know. They are able to provide specific examples of why they support the faculty on strike and why they are out on the picket line with their teachers. So, I have to wonder, are the picketing teachers the ones encouraging their students to think critically and to become informed about the issues while the anti-union while the anti-union teachers are simply trying to convince their students to think their way? The professors I've talked to on the picket lines have communicated the reasons why they are out there. But they've also listened to questions. They've encouraged me to form my own opinions about the strike. Are the anti-union teachers following the same critical thought framework? Based on the division in the disciplines, with regard to the faculty who support the strike and those who don't, I have to wonder. The pro-faculty strike teachers I've talked to are in disciplines that encourage critical thinking. I'd like to know the methods the anti-union teachers are using to "inform" their students.

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  5. So now we're down to, "Only the best teachers are union members, the ones who aren't in the union aren't good teachers."

    Will wonders never cease?

    Brilliant!

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  6. Here is the "spin" from the administration...

    Vice Chancellors, Deans, and Chairs

     

    Below is the official statement released earlier this evening.  The statement does not provide details about what happened during the day.  I believe it important for you to be informed about the efforts of our bargaining team and our disappointment in the actions of the FA.

     

    1.      Monday evening we provided the FA with our proposal and agreed to meet at 9:30 this morning.  Both teams arrived at 9:30, however, the FA did not contact our team until 11 am and were not ready to discuss our proposal until 12:30pm.  Over the last 12 hours, only one brief face-to-face team meeting took place.  At that meeting the FA team reviewed the proposal we had provided them the previous evening, which they had yet to fully review.  The items presented were not new and were previously identified as unacceptable to the University.

     

    2.      Two "side bar" private conversations took place between the team leaders to discuss financial exigency language and RIF procedures, agreement on the 1%, 1%, 2% pay plan.  


    3.      The FA was largely uncommunicative throughout the day, staying in a separate room, and at approximately 9:00 pm requested that we post a joint message that we were breaking off "talks".  It was clear they were not committed to working through the evening to reach agreement, leaving us little choice but to agree to the public statement.

     

    4.      The FA has not agreed to what is essentially our final proposal on the three remaining significant Items of furloughs, fair share, and strike pay. 

     

    It is an understatement to say that our bargaining team and I are frustrated about the inability to resolve these issues tonight and get our faculty back to work tomorrow.  We have been clear that we will not pay strikers for days they refused to work.  We will not make non-members pay dues or fees to the FA against their will.  And we will not limit furloughs as they are the only method for dealing with costs in the FA due to tenure.  Unlike all other IEA and non IEA units on campus, they have tenure and thus only cost saving option is furloughs.

     

    Over the past 18 months, our bargaining team has worked to address the demands of the FA in the spirit of good faith bargaining.  We feel we have conceded as many points as we can.  At the final hour, we look to our FA colleagues to agree to a fair contract.  Meanwhile we are committed to returning to the bargaining table tomorrow morning.

     

    Rita

    Rita Hartung Cheng, Chancellor

    Southern Illinois University 

    Carbondale

    -------------------------------------------------


    Begin forwarded message:

    From: "Office of the Chancellor"
    Date: November 8, 2011 9:31:43 PM CST
    To: "SIUC, SIUP, and SIUM Employees" 
    Subject: Update from BOT and FA bargaining teams

    Bargaining teams for the Board of Trustees and the Faculty Association
    released the following joint statement this evening:

    The Board of Trustees and Faculty Association bargaining teams met for 12
    hours today. Despite efforts to find a tentative mutual agreement on all items,
    no tentative agreement was reached.  The teams agreed to meet again at 9:30
    a.m. Wednesday to resume negotiations.


    --------------------------------------------

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  7. So, the FA bargaining team wasn't willing to continue negotiations through the night? But they were so intent on making sure that we knew that they wanted to keep negotiating until a deal was reached when the BOT team broke off negotiations Monday night. How can that be?

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  8. Why is Chancellor Cheng lying about what really happened? It was the BOT bargaining team that left at 9:00 PM on MOnday evening, after having summarily dropped their "unfair" and punitive proposal on the FA bargaining team's plate!

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  9. Yesterday the Faculty Association slowed bargaining to make certain the rally at the Stone Center would take place today. This was obvious by the middle of the day Tuesday. Neither side has sought to resolve this strike quickly and both bear a great deal of blame for failing to avoid this, though the administration bears the greatest responsibility for not engaging all four unions back in July after the outlook on the current fiscal year had become clear.

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  10. The law protects strikers when they engage in lawful activity. It provides no protection for misconduct or unlawful activity. When I was in college, the union at a meatpacking plant in my city struck. Their strike was not based on a paranoid hypothetical, as the FA strike is, but rather a significant reduction in wages and benefits, coupled with demands for increased productivity.

    The company hired replacement workers. Some of the strikers engaged in misconduct, including intimidation at the picket line (a real picket line with real blue collar workers who knew they would never be paid for their time on strike), following replacement workers home, and so forth. Those who broke the law and committed misconduct were punished. They weren't immunized from their misconduct by their back to work agreement.

    If you are "playing strike," of course you don't want consequences or responsibility for what you've done. You want the thrill of standing on a picket line and standing up to the man (or in this case, "Madame Cheng") at absolutely no risk or consequences to yourselves. That's ridiculous. It's unprincipled. It's craven, and it's selfish.

    But if you're really striking, and not just playing strike, then accept the loss of pay and benefits that entails. Strikes have always involved risk. And understand that your independent misconduct (and please note, I am not referring to activities that are absolutely protected by law, but those that are not), which is offensive, childish, wrong and illegal, is yet another thing for which you'll have to take actual responsibility. Including the consequences of actions that violate the law.

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  11. The FA leaders have no credibility at all. This strike is completely served as their own interests (Not necessary the interest of the union).

    ''You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.''

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  12. Anonymous 10:37

    Do you really know what you are talking about? Have your read their proposals? What would you like to see in the contract? Which specific aspects of what the FA are asking for are you against? Also note that the back to work clause proposed by the FA is appropriate. Faculty will return to work and make up for the classes they missed. In fact, even at the picket lines I have seen faculty reviewing their students' papers and
    providing feedback to their thesis advisees! Faculty have also informed students about alternative e-mail accounts and they are providing their feedback on the students' work. That doesn't sound like the faculty are just "playing" on the picket lines, does it?

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  13. Anon 10:58:

    I've read the BOT proposals, and I've read the FA interpretation of them. If all I had to rely on were the FA communiques, I'd think the BOT and Cheng were out to destroy the university and tenure, and turn SIUC into a rural University of Phoenix. Once I started reading for myself, I realized what many others posting on this blog have observed: the FA leadership is deceptive, manipulative and irresponsible. I don't think much more highly of the Chancellor, but as I've said before, these people all deserve each other.

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  14. No, what is happening at Penn State is much, much worse.

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  15. ''Faculty will return to work and make up for the classes they missed.''

    Are you asking your students to squeeze their time to accommodate your will? Don't forget the priority. Without students, there will be no jobs for any faculty.

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  16. I am not against the union. But I am not supporting the current leadership.
    The union should choose a new leadership who can start to bring the credibility back to the faculty.

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  17. I read this, and it's like my own story. i also worked for UPS, and I had exactly the same feelings. I was always a hard worker,I was making the same money or other lazy employees, and even more... when any new position was available, the employees with more seniority got them, no matter how bad they were.

    I had an issue with another employee; even though I was right, and management and Union agreed on that, the other employee couldn't get fired because, according to the Union, they have to defend both employees no matter what. HR didn't want to get involved because I was a Union member. So, what type of protection is that???

    By the way, when i'm talking about union, I'm refereing to the shop stuart, who is another regular employee. Because, you will never hear from the union big guys.

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  18. unions would not have been so bad if they were optional. The fact that you either join or you cannot work is simply wrong. If unions are truly so great, people will join willingly, the fact that it is not the case already states that there is a lack of confidence, as in "not so great". Let people choose, those that want to join and pay the dues for these "protections" and "benefits", let them, but those that do not want these "protections" and "benefits", they should be allowed to as well.

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  19. As I’ve written elsewhere, I am not in the union, and am not on strike (but out of respect for those that are, I am not teaching any classes – or doing any other duties – other than my own). However, it is maybe worth considering some ideas that might make union representation more palatable for the likes of me (some maybe are workable, some may not be, I’m just throwing them out there…)

    1) There should be regular votes by the faculty as a whole for how they want to be represented (this is why I signed my FSN card, and why you should too). Am I right that the last vote was in 1996? How many of us here now voted then? I personally would vote against keeping the current union structure; however, if the FA is correct and a majority still want the FA (or at least, some kind of union) representation, I for one would abide by that vote. To me, however, such a vote should mean everyone is a dues paying—and full voting—member. No more fence-sitters, but also no more non-voting faculty. Elsewhere Mike and others have raised the issue of fair share and how to implement it. It is a good question to ask what would happen if the administration would agree to it – and which side would benefit -- (and I don’t know the answer—my guess is it would modulate some of the radical aspects of the FA, but would also give it more teeth and make it harder to dismiss). Side question: if all of the faculty were voting members, would we have voted to strike over the issues at hand?

    2) It has been guestimated (in other threads) that virtually all other faculty who are not striking (and, say, who are also not FSN-card-signers) secretly support the FA and the strike, but don’t become dues-paying members and/or are not striking because of (a) fear and/or (b) money. While personally I do not think this is true of the majority of the fence-sitters – and I also do not understand the fear explanation -- let’s say that the costs are indeed key. The dues *are* expensive, particularly for our colleagues that make less. If everyone were full dues-paying members, is it possible that dues could be less?

    3) Alternatively, if the union were local, is it possible that dues could be less?

    4) Is it possible that dues could be percentages of salary instead of fixed amounts?

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  20. Unions are ruining public education: Every few years, it's the same old story. The teachers’ unions claim that public education in this country is dramatically underfunded and if they just had more money, they could turn it around. Taxpayer money then pours into our schools like a waterfall and....there's no improvement. A few years later, when people have forgotten the last spending spree on education, the process is repeated.

    However, the real problem with our education system in this country is the teachers’ unions. They do everything possible to prevent schools not only from firing lousy teachers, but also from rewarding talented teachers. Merit pay? The unions hate it. Private schools? Even though everyone knows they deliver a better education than our public schools, unions fight to keep as many kids as possible locked in failing public schools. In Wisconsin, we've had whole schools shutting down so that lazy teachers can waste their time protesting on the taxpayers’ dime. Want to improve education in this country? Then you've got to take on the teachers’ unions.

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  21. Unions are fundamentally anti-democratic : How in the world did we get to the point where people can be forced to join a union just to get a job at certain places? Then, after they're dragooned into the union, they have no choice other than to pay dues that are used for political activities which the unwilling dues-paying member may oppose.

    Add to that the fact that the Democrats and the government unions collaborate to subvert democracy at the expense of the taxpayer and it's not a pretty picture. Worse yet, unions have gotten so voracious that they even want to do away with the secret ballot, via card check, so they can openly bully people into joining unions. The way unions behave in this country is undemocratic, un-American, and it should trouble anyone who cares about freedom and individual rights.

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  22. Beezer, I share many of your concerns and questions--including about exactly what our alternatives might be if we begin from this pair of assumptions: 1) some kind of a collective faculty voice is needed--or at least desirable--for effective communication/negotiation with the administration; and 2) the FA does not accurately or appropriately represent the concerns of the majority of its represented group (all tenured and TT faculty).

    Like many others here, too, I'm not sure what to think of the FSN. The thing I find most troubling is their "alternative"--some kind of FS-related body that does not exist now and may not even be possible. Accordingly, I have emailed Mike Eichholz to ask why they have not offered the option of an AAUP Collective Bargaining Chapter. IMO, this would more appropriately address the needs of faculty and a tradition of joint governance than affiliation with a union that typically represents K-12 teachers, whose bargaining needs are far more clearly aligned with a management/worker structure.

    We keep quoting AAUP standards for things like joint governance, academic freedom, and so on--how about if we make these principles real in our representation? I will report back on how the FSN responds to this question, and would also like to discuss this with others.

    To any who may jump in here to chide me for raising this issue and questioning the FA, I would like to remind you that the stated intention behind the founding of this space was for discussion--not for single-minded support of the FA. If that has changed, of course, then the administrators are free to make that clear.

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  23. Anon: 11:25, Were it not for the FA, SIC would become a rural University of Phoenix. The fact that it may not turn out this way has nothing to do with Cheng's altruism. Just look up hermstaements, the imposed contract, her lies, and how she has had to backtrack as a result of opposition. As to the usual anti-union comments it is so tiring to hear these repeated fantasies from the losing side.

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  24. Anon. 12:33 wrote:

    "Unions are fundamentally anti-democratic..."

    No, I don't think that they are *fundamentally* undemocratic; but some aspects often are, in practice.

    and...

    "Add to that the fact that the Democrats and the government unions collaborate to subvert democracy at the expense of the taxpayer and it's not a pretty picture..."

    I think we would be wise to leave large-scale politics out of this (lest the site quickly devolve into a 'who-sucks-more-obama-or-bush' yap fest that is unlikely to be illuminating). What matters is what we faculty decide to do here w/ respect to our representation.

    Anon. 12.27 wrote:

    "the real problem with our education system in this country is the teachers’ unions. They do everything possible to prevent schools not only from firing lousy teachers, but also from rewarding talented teachers. Merit pay? The unions hate it. Private schools? Even though everyone knows they deliver a better education than our public schools, unions fight to keep as many kids as possible locked in failing public schools."

    I agree with some of that, but I have to say that all in all k-12 teachers are incredibly important in our society and despite what you say are generally paid quite poorly in comparison to that importance. The recent round of teacher-bashing of Faux-News was shocking and exploited the egregious examples of a few bad apples to run roughshod over the skill and dedication that most public school teachers demonstrate with our children on a regular basis. It simply isn't true that most private schools are better than most public schools. In my own experience, I attended an east coast college of some repute, and sure, it was populated by a disproportionate number of graduates from the most famous private schools in the world. But while the private school kids started out with some advantages, by the end of the day the public school kids were the stronger performers because they were there on "merit" (which I agree is important, but in this case was present in part due to the skills of those public school teachers--like mine) not connections, and because they had a better work ethic.

    In any case, I don't think that what happens with teachers unions is relevant to us. Thus, I think "An AAUP Option" raises some interesting points about, well, a prospective AAUP option.

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  25. Today's 3:00 p.m. convergence at Stone House should be interesting as there is limited parking and no back exit.

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  26. Yes, how ever shall we get there? Oh noes!

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  27. "An AAUP Option? said...

    Beezer, I share many of your concerns and questions--including about exactly what our alternatives might be if we begin from this pair of assumptions: 1) some kind of a collective faculty voice is needed--or at least desirable--for effective communication/negotiation with the administration; and 2) the FA does not accurately or appropriately represent the concerns of the majority of its represented group (all tenured and TT faculty).

    Like many others here, too, I'm not sure what to think of the FSN. The thing I find most troubling is their "alternative"--some kind of FS-related body that does not exist now and may not even be possible. Accordingly, I have emailed Mike Eichholz to ask why they have not offered the option of an AAUP Collective Bargaining Chapter. IMO, this would more appropriately address the needs of faculty and a tradition of joint governance than affiliation with a union that typically represents K-12 teachers, whose bargaining needs are far more clearly aligned with a management/worker structure.

    We keep quoting AAUP standards for things like joint governance, academic freedom, and so on--how about if we make these principles real in our representation? I will report back on how the FSN responds to this question, and would also like to discuss this with others.

    To any who may jump in here to chide me for raising this issue and questioning the FA, I would like to remind you that the stated intention behind the founding of this space was for discussion--not for single-minded support of the FA. If that has changed, of course, then the administrators are free to make that clear."

    I know we do use a lot of AAUP language. What would the FSN need to do to make the AAUP a part of the options? Actually, a better question would be what could any of us do if we wanted to decertify the FA(NEA) and bring in a collective bargaining unit that may have a better grasp of issues unique to universities?

    I am very interested in getting together with faculty who would like to work actively to depolarize both the faculty and the faculty/administration.

    It would be good to have an opportunity to "recertify" any collective bargaining option we vote for (or don't) systematically. It does decrease power but then...I can here my mother quoting Baron Acton (I think): Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Like many on this blog, I was not here in 95,96 or whenever the FA was elected in. I would love to have the opportunity to reconsider who is representing me.

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  28. There was an effort to organize and AAUP union in the early 90's or 80's (I think). I got here after that. I am not sure why it failed. My general impression is the the NEA/IEA just has a lot more resources to offer. But someone who knows the history might want to comment.

    For those of you who think the FA is not representative, why would some other union be more so? Who would join? Who would be willing to pay dues? Who would be active in it? Pretty much the same as who are in the FA. If the FA does not represent your views then join it and get involved.

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  29. If the FSN gets its 30%, we will have a vote if it can't, then that tells the majority does want the FA around even if they don't want pay dues.

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  30. I truly hope the main issue is that of furloughs. The FA will start to lose support if it insists on continuing a strike over fair share and back to work pay. I am assuming it is the furlough issue that is preventing an agreement from being reached, and I can support that. However, if the focus becomes back to work pay then the administration can certainly spin it as "all about money" and some faculty and students will start to see it that way as well.

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  31. Mike, It also might mean that the campaign to discredit the FSN was successful. You seem to acknowledge in your post that the petition is a valid way to confirm support for the FA, yet many of your earlier posts question the honesty of the effort and have cast it as a choice for "no negotiations". This past week really reminds me of the Swift Boats for Justice campaign. Fear apparently does trump logic.

    On the question of AAUP affiliation. That certainly could be an option with a local bargaining unit. Membership dues for AAUP chapters seem to be about 1/2 of what FA dues are and are based on salary percentage, at least at the few I could easily find in a quick search. I suppose confrontational unions need higher dues to fight confrontations.

    Lastly, thanks for pointing out that not supporting the FSN effort is effectively supporting the FA.

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  32. "Dan said...

    I truly hope the main issue is that of furloughs. The FA will start to lose support if it insists on continuing a strike over fair share and back to work pay."

    I've always thought that furloughs should have been the #1 focus. They are a REAL threat and we could experience "death by a thousand cuts." I think that is more likely than layoffs of tenured faculty...

    Any news on where things stand since Randy H's email this a.m.?

    Thanks.

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  33. I just said hello to Rita and wished her luck. I walked over to the Student Center to see what was happening and on the way back she and a few other people I did not know were heading toward the negotiation room. Hope it is a good sign.

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  34. Just a quick heads up... I learned today that those striking tomorrow will also not be paid for Friday. Also, its going to be cold tomorrow morning so plan accordingly...

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  35. 6:37 PM,

    Yes the petition is a means of testing support for the FA. But I still believe the option of having the FS bargain is disingenuous.

    I do not know what you mean by "the campaign to discredit the FSN." People here and elsewhere have criticized it and unfortunately some have vilified it. But there is no "campaign". The FA leadership is far too busy right now to launch any sort of campain.

    I could be wrong but the tone of your remark seems to indicate that you are, perhaps unconsciously, setting up a psychological defence to rationalize the inability of the FSN to get enough support. Perhaps you will convince yourself that some sort of conspiracy explains why they (you) cannot get enough signatures rather than accept that most faculty want the FA to remain.

    I don't know what will happen. They may get 30% or not. I doubt they will get the FA decertified, but will accept that result if it happens.

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  36. "I learned today that those striking tomorrow will also not be paid for Friday."

    How on earth did you learn that? Quit fear mongering.

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  37. Unionization will make it worse. Unions only ever want three things for their members: more money, less work and job security, regardless of performance. This is bad for everyone outside the union. Our universities are still one of the areas of our society that are existing in a bubble economy. Unionization will hasten the day that bubble pops.

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  38. @ Anon 7:06: I'm not the person who posted that those striking Thursday will not be paid for Friday. But I will tell you that it isn't fear mongering, it's fact.

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  39. 7:38 PM,

    Of course you know. And of course you don't have a source. And of course you are a different person.

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  40. The variety of campuses in most state systems makes sense based on limited resources and the need to concentrate research talents. Market differences between schools and within departments - even if they do not make sense - are the reality. If you want a business school, you pay the required faculty price or the best, if not all, will leave. Unions, built on common purpose, tolerate inequities poorly and, have never successfully accepted merit or performance pay. There is no indication that faculty unions would be any different.

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  41. 7:48 PM,

    I shared your concern at one time. However the FA has long accepted pay differentials and the last contract included merit pay. I don't think this Admin has asked for merit pay since the raises are so small because of the economy and state budget problems.

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  42. Andrew Barbero is posting over on the GA United Facebook that the strike is over. Let's hope this is confirmed very soon! I'd love this reward for my dead voice.

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  43. I will run over to the student ceter and see!!

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  44. "Lastly, thanks for pointing out that not supporting the FSN effort is effectively supporting the FA."

    An ill logic! Life is not just white and black.
    You simplify the reality too much!

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  45. Who appointed/elected the FSN? Why would a self-appointed group carry any legitimacy in speaking for any segment of the faculty (except themselves)? Why would anyone trust the FSN count of the 30% in case it ever reaches that level?

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  46. Umm,... because the petition cards are counted and verified by the IELRB? The same group that then conducts the ballot.

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  47. The DE reporters outside the V room have not heard an announcement. There is supposed to be an announcement of some sort at the Newman center at 8, and it is just past 8. I'm heading over.

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  48. Why would I allow my peers to vote on something that binds me when I am free to negotiate my own professorial labor contract.

    The union's interest is not necessarily the same as my interest--no union cares about merit as they care only about the median union member and increasing the union's power.

    Unions will never be in the interest of a merit based, dynamic, knowledge creating profession.

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  49. Mike heading to HQNovember 9, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    The strike is over!!!!!!!!!

    "Confirmed by Marinus Van Kuilenburg @ SHQ"

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/6789631853/

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  50. No problem with merit pay. The problem, as I see the FSN proposal, is that it is left up to the dean and the negotiating power of the individual. How does a dean necessarily know what is meritorious in each field? Doesn't this elevate personality compatibility to new levels of importance (if you're not liked, you are out of luck)? If you want to go with merit, keep the decision at the department level with department operating papers, even if it means stripping away at across the board raises. Don't make the decision some secret process where some benefit and others do not based on how well they get along with or submit to a dean (even if both faculty members are meritorious). As the union says, transparency. As others say, merit matters. Both can be accomplished.

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  51. "If you want to go with merit, keep the decision at the department level with department operating papers"

    If you are surrounded by most non-productive colleagues, you know the challenging. Everyone are either excellent or very good in annual reviews. The rating for a faculty with external grants and 5-6 papers is almost the same as the one with only one paper submitted (every year).
    The lowest rating is good. That is, if you do nothing, you will received 'good' without any problem. Talk to the chair, he smiles and says "this is according our operating paper". Changing the operating paper? No way, many people are enjoying their life for 50% teaching and 50% do whatever they want to do. Part time job and get full time pay. Not fair, talk to union. The president says ....it doesn't matter.

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  52. According to WSIL 3 the strike is over, but there is no tentative agreement.

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  53. I don’t think Mike was the one who was ‘campaigning’ against the FSN (but maybe others were, though I don’t think it was organized, despite it being a topic of discussion here).

    From what I hear, I’m not sure that the FSN will get to 30% either (but it’s definitely getting closer). I certainly don’t think failing to get to 30% will mean that 70+% want current union representation. Hard to get a lot of faculty to do anything, even at times like this (herding cats and all…).

    If an AAUP-type union (whatever that is) can offer collective representation (where all pay dues, and all vote), with lower dues (that are percentage of pay), then maybe it could be the answer to a lot of questions – assuming there first was a vote of all faculty that determines that this is what they want.

    I think Mike makes a good point that there’s no absolute reason why our current or future union absolutely must, by definition, oppose merit considerations (and in fact, if all faculty were truly represented, I expect many would be advocating merit considerations, not just the administration).

    I still think a vote is very important. While the FSN card campaign is now the quickest way to achieve it (it’s already started and most of the way there I expect), it’s not the only way. It may seem to some FAers that the FA has nothing to gain by indulging such a vote, but that’s not true. If they are so certain that the majority of faculty really want union representation—specifically, their current (FA) representation—then a vote of all faculty that proves that would, in my view, invigorate the FA with renewed legitimacy.

    If the faculty do want a union, it’s fair to ask if things would be any different / better if it were an AAUP-style (independent/local) union or the current one. Yes, there’s no reason things would be different if the membership (and hence leadership) is exactly the same. On the other hand, while the connection to outside powers assuredly offers more resources, they also increase costs (apparently an issue for many—perhaps affecting how wide faculty participation would ever be), they may not appreciate our issues as well as we do, and their agenda may not coincide with our own needs (e.g. fair share for the sake of fair share, not to increase the scope of the faculty voice).

    In any case, I’m glad to just get the note that the strike apparently over. Congratz to both sides. I think, based on what I’ve read in this thread and elsewhere, that the real damage done by the strike will end up *not* being faculty / administration relationships or student/parent perception (or 'mis-taught' students--I'm sure y'all will fix any of that quickly)—it’s going to be all of the newly created rifts that we have created amongst ourselves. How are we going to get past this?

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  54. The other reason for keeping merit at the dean level is simply to level the playing field between departments with different criteria. Say, for example comparing a faculty member in one department with who publishes three papers in the number one journal in the world vs a faculty member in another who publishes three papers in 2nd and 3rd tier journals. Deans can rely on departmental op papers if they choose, and it would fall to chairs to argue for their own faculty. Deans level the playing field between departments and can recognize differences where they occur and can make adjustments when desirable to reward truly outstanding accomplishments which will help to retain our best and brightest.

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  55. Yes the strike is over, by a strong vote. Can anyone verify if Rita was at the BOT meeting today, on the occupysiuc site there was a chair....empty...next to Poshard as he took rollcall. Just wondering...

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  56. Does anyone here know the details of the forthcoming agreement?

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  57. The details are too many to post here, the FA gained on about 14 items, lost on about 4 items. Many of these 14 items I didn't even know were on the table, as the FA were not very clear on what was being bargained. The BOT team squeezed them dry though, not much left to give. Still its a good victory...........the `fight' goes on...

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  58. Let me guess - they won on the 14 no one knew about, and lost on the 4 most important?

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  59. "based on what I’ve read in this thread and elsewhere, that the real damage done by the strike will end up *not* being faculty / administration relationships or student/parent perception (or 'mis-taught' students--I'm sure y'all will fix any of that quickly)—it’s going to be all of the newly created rifts that we have created amongst ourselves. How are we going to get past this?"

    It must bring all of our faculty members at SIUC to a common ground (like who should represent our faculty). It is a challenging and long-time task. But once we can get it done, every one will be able to enjoy the good outcome. This is what I hope!

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  60. The strike is over but there is no TA because there are still small things that need to be ironed out in the contract before it can be submitted to the membership for possible ratification.

    WE DID IT!!!! We got full AAUP definition inserted into the contract, a full year of appointment after FE is declared (however rare it will be), and the right to cancel the contract and go on strike if we regard the board's determination of FE improper.

    We already made crucial gains in the previous weeks on 26:1, on Distance Education, on overload workload compensation. Sexual harassment and conflict of interest policies are to be bargained by next summer with federal mediation.

    Furloughs is a bit less encouraging and back-to-work is a bitter pill. But we retained the right to continue pursuing the ULC about illegal furloughs last spring, which the union bargaining team was confident about prevailing over. So, strikers lose 5 days of pay (weekends not included) and likely we all get 4 days returned to us at some point for the illegal furloughs.

    Non-strikers yet again get to free ride on the hard work of the rest of us, but oh well. I know I had the courage to do what is right, and I can sleep at night without any problems.

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  61. A colleague just called me and complained that he might lose all six day's pay. He were told by the union people that "it is likely that you won't even lose any pay". He felt the strike gained little and want to know whom he can believe now.

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  62. Our union dues are rather high. In the future, especially, if a need should arise to go on strike,
    it would be good to set aside some of our dues towards a reserve fund to pay the faculty who go on strike. As the administration has been so petty as to not grant the faculty pay for the strike days even on the condition that they would make up the classes that they missed, in future we cannot expect we will get a decent back to work agreement if we go on strike again. The IEA's dues are too high. Why should all of that money got to the IEA? MOney should be set aside each year for unexpected events such as strikes.

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  63. 9:26 - Perhaps you could have considered that before going on strike?

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  64. Anon 9.08

    Not quite true, but some truth in that for sure.

    The FA lost on 2 `big' issues: accountability and transparency on furloghs, and `fair share'. Of course the second is a big issue for them, since they are a union. The other issue they lost on was a good back to work agreement, but, to be honest, I don't think this is so big, since part of a strike is a loss in salary for the duration of the strike, and strikers know this. Also its not clear if all strikers will lose 5 days pay, they might only lose paydays for teaching days. The admin could be nice here, but I doubt that they will be. The other big issue....salaries tied to SIUC revenue..was a bit too ambitious, but we got the 0, 1, 1, 2% anyway.

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  65. "WE DID IT!!!! We got full AAUP definition inserted into the contract, a full year of appointment after FE is declared (however rare it will be), and the right to cancel the contract and go on strike if we regard the board's determination of FE improper."

    Do you think that is a BIG deal? The Admin anyway needs to follow AAUP guildline. The faculty always have the right to go to strike by law. I fail to see any significance there.

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  66. As we didn't get a decent Back to work agreement, this will impact the future negatively. People will be reluctant to go on strike in the future.

    So even though in the case of a different issue (was it furlough? or RIF) we retain the right to go on strike, that avenue will not be attractive to people given the current back to work agreement.

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  67. Anonymous 9:29

    You misunderstood. I was making a suggestion for the future. Part of our annual membership dues should be set aside so that we can use that in the event of a strike to make up for loss in income to faculty who go on strike.

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  68. Anon 9.41

    I think thats a good idea, yes. I don't know too much about unions, so am not sure whether they would agree or not to something like this. But its a good bit of creative thinking, which we need more of.

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  69. Yes, indeed, it is a big deal to have a a transparent and accountable FE policy. Previous to now, all the FA was able to accomplish was to get a no layoffs clause in a side letter. Now we got something in the contract itself, which the union would never consent in the future to removing (I believe) without loads of members resigning (including myself).

    Having AAUP policy on FE in the contract means that it trumps whatever the board's policies are (and it meets the faculty's interest in transparency). And the union retains the right to strike over the Board's declaration of FE if we deem it improper (thus giving us accountability).

    So, I must simply disagree with you here. This is a major victory for me should I achieve tenure next year.

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  70. If Joe's account is accurate (big if):

    "Furloughs is a bit less encouraging and back-to-work is a bitter pill."

    What? That's where the FA was this morning! Or, rather it sounds like last night's BOT response/offer.

    No "front-end" "transparency and accountability" on FE, you can strike afterward, if you like. Didn't the pedal hit the metal with calls for front-end accountability?

    Furloughs and layoffs: no real give by BOT. They can impose them and the FA can strike. The furlough issue really bothers me: so FA can strike (take voluntary furlough days on top of imposed ones).

    Raises = one-half percent. Inflation = 3.5% No money left after the 26:1 "victory."

    This is the harshest contract since I came here and the strike was about issues I thought unimportant (front-end "accountability") and, apparently, the FA is giving on them too - unless there is more than what Joe told.

    If I were the BOT side, I'd see this as a victory. Oh, well, 13% real pay cut over the contract ain't REALLY bad.

    But it will be good to have people working again.

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  71. Jon, I will talk later with you on this, but it became readily apparent that the BOT was more willing to give us good language on FE than on furloughs. They claim that we are the only ones with tenured faculty that cannot be laid off whereas the other three unions' members can be. So they claim, they need the financial flexibility on furloughs. I don't like it either, but I do not share your view about just trusting the BOT on FE. Not after what we experienced last Thursday and Friday when they did a big middle-finger salute to my legally-sanctioned union.

    But, yes, I am relieved this is all over, and that we can resume being colleagues in the office.

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  72. Anon 9:26 wrote: "As the administration has been so petty as to not grant the faculty pay for the strike days even on the condition that they would make up the classes that they missed, in future we cannot expect we will get a decent back to work agreement if we go on strike again."

    Uh.... that's not petty, that's basic common sense. If the university had paid the strikers, there would be a strike during every contract negotiation. If a strike has benefits but no costs why not just strike every time?

    Everyone should have known better than to expect to be paid for striking. If the issues are important enough then you should be willing to sacrifice for them. If you aren't willing to sacrifice then the issues weren't that important.

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  73. Jon,

    If you want an even better contract we need more people to go on strike. The stronger we are the more we get. It is pretty simple.

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  74. Yes, strikes are the answer to all of our needs. Let's all look forward to the end of this contract so we can strike again. We'll dig out our puppets and costumes and take a few days off while our students education suffers. It'll be a hoot!

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  75. I am planning for tomorrow's class. The sub or subs have not contacted me so I have no idea what they covered. I will pick up right where I left off. I have e-mailed the class and let them know the new due date for the homework. I'll talk to them about make-up lectures.

    I have asked my grad class if they would like to meet for two hours on Friday. It is a small class and all the students all from overseas, so that may work out.

    On the back-to-work terms, if we were stronger they would have been better. Join the the FA.

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  76. Mike,

    The first thing needed is vision, not by counting heads. Without a good vision, you won't get enough people.

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  77. How `bout this for an interesting piece of logic:

    We should blame the non-strikers for the prolonged strike.

    Reason: if they came out on strike (if all faculty went on strike) we would win a very quick strike..............

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  78. Reading through the post-strike comments, I feel some sympathy for our colleagues who were genuinely deceived by the union. Here are some issues I find disturbing:

    1). Many people did not know what the FA was bargaining about.

    2). The FA apparently convinced some people that a strike would be virtually risk-free from a financial standpoint. People seem genuinely surprised that they won't be paid for their time on strike.

    3). The FA has apparently convinced a number of people that it is likely to prevail on the unfair labor claim for furloughs this past year and everyone will get 4 days of back pay. This is a pipe dream. This is a lot like like Jim Carrey's character in Dumb and Dumber upon being told that his chances with a woman are less than one in a million: "I get it. So you're saying I've got a chance."

    4). The opportunity to strike if the union disagrees with a declaration of financial exigency?? Everyone can walk off the job without pay to protest a decision that they might get laid off without pay? This hardly seems like a great victory.

    In the end, this strike seems to have accomplished very little that was actually worth striking for. I do hope the FA leaders, with their constant mantra of accountability for others, will be held accountable for their misguided decisions and the impact of those decisions on others.

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  79. Let us hope that Cheng and Poshard and the BOT have it in them to be gracious and give us a better back to work agreement. if they don't they are being very shortsighted. That gesture on their part should help build bridges. But then, based on their past actions, I doubt somehow that they will ever have that vision.

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  80. People may flatter themselves just as much by thinking that their faults are always present to other people's minds, as if they believe that the world is always contemplating their individual charms and virtues.

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  81. The strike certainly would have been shorter if the BOT team had not refused to negotiate for three and a half days. Rita wanted to see how strong we were. I can see that position if you are managing a steel plant. It is unconscionable from someone supposedly committed to higher education.

    We can minimize the damage she can do by having a strong union. We will never have a prefect union, but the way to make it better is to get involved.

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  82. Well I'll say my last peace because we are all tired of this and I'm glad it is done (amen):

    I would not strike for something (FE) that I thought was highly unlikely to occur. In fact, I told people that the Board would write such policy in the end because it doesn't matter. As Randy Hughes told me a year ago, "the layoffs would never make it up to tenured folk."

    I was concerned about furloughs but apparently that was a minor item to strike over, given the FA's decision.

    If I had struck for FE (which I thought the Board would give and FA played into their hands), then what FA got was basically the _real_ status quo for tenured folk before this happened -- AAUP language or no AAUP.

    I am glad that Joe and others *consider* this a victory so the university can get back to work - and we won't have substitute teachers any longer.

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  83. Naysayers will make themselves feel better by denigrating the very real accomplishments we wrested from the BOT this past week. And let's not be kidding ourselves, we had to wrest them from a very hostile and petty BOT bargaining team. I see this as a first step toward changing the institutional culture around here into what something more normal (like what I experienced serving on graduate council at my graduate school for several years). It will be tough work, but I feel like we did accomplish something major with student help and support this week.

    But now we have to move on and get back together as faculty, whether we went on strike or did not. Can we do that?

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  84. I don't feel better. I do hope everything gets better in the future, but I really don't think the FA did much more than fight hard to wrest the status quo from the BOT. This is my last contribution to these threads, but I will end with this: you can't expect real progress when you quibble over unlikely hypotheticals. I hope the union will pick better fights in the future, if it survives to pick any at all.

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  85. Perplexed 10:20
    "The opportunity to strike if the union disagrees with a declaration of financial exigency?? Everyone can walk off the job without pay to protest a decision that they might get laid off without pay? This hardly seems like a great victory."

    Well said-perplexed. I agree! And I think some people seemed to have been misled.

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  86. Let's not forget support from your faithful civil servants. We can only hope this strike gives us the courage to stand up for fair pay, merit raises, and transparency.

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  87. Let's review what the FA actually said when it went on strike:

    http://siucfa.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/siuc-faculty-association-on-strike/

    1. "Our bargaining team brought two new options on furloughs….the administration chose none of the above. It rejected both." Outcome after the strike: FA lost.

    2. "Salaries. The Chancellor’s team offered us raises of 0,1,1, and 2% over the four years of the next contract…We have therefore turned down their salary offer." Outcome after strike: FA took the increase as offered before the strike.

    3. "We are prepared to support both furloughs and layoffs, but only if they are justified by a true fiscal crisis." Here's what Cheng said the BOT was offering before the strike:

    "The University’s proposal requires that a financial exigency be declared in accordance with the Board of Trustees policy as it currently exists…[it] would require the University to bargain with the Faculty Association over the decision to layoff faculty and the impact of that decision if a financial exigency has been declared."

    Outcome after the strike: Sounds like FA took the BOT's pre-strike offer. Good news is that it's now contractual, bad news is that the new contract actually got rid of the 30 day limit but allowed immediate layoffs if necessary.

    4. Back to Work Agreement? This is the real test. If the strike was making the university compromise, then they would do anything to get faculty back. Instead, the FA has to come back to work even before it gets things finalized so they don't lose even more money.


    I genuinely commend people who went on strike out of duty, courage, and commitment to justice. But I also feel that you got sold a bill of goods from the FA leadership. You lost a week's pay and got nothing.

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  88. Joe wrote:

    "But now we have to move on and get back together as faculty, whether we went on strike or did not. Can we do that?"

    Man, I sure hope so. For some, it will be difficult. A lot of hard feelings out there.

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  89. If someone thinks one penny is the same as one hundred bill, I will be fine and can live with it. Good to know the inflation runs much slow than that.

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  90. I'm not a freerider. A freerider gets the same benefits as everyone else without paying the costs. The strike had no benefits for me.

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  91. Plus ca change . . .November 9, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Faculty at Work wrote:

    "But I also feel that you got sold a bill of goods from the FA leadership. You lost a week's pay and got nothing."

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  92. We didn't gain much in terms of the contract and we lost in terms of the Back to work agreement. But I think people who picketed and participated last week gained much in other ways in such a short period of time. The cross-disciplinary interactions and also finding out what fantastic students we have here. People got to meet and interact with faculty and students and others in different departments and colleges that they would otherwise have not met.

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  93. Perplexed:

    If you got down this far in the comments, you have seen a wide range of opinions, including a wide range from FA supporters. No one deceived us.

    We looked at available information from the FA, from the chancellor, and from discussions with others and made our own decisions. If you disagree our decisions, fine, but please have the same courtesy that Jonathan Bean has to respect the intelligence of your colleagues -- even when you think they are mistaken.

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  94. This is probably the end of the FA union.

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  95. FA established itself philosopically: Luddites forever.

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  96. It's really simple. I am not a dues paying member of the FA. But, there are mitigating reasons why and this strike did nothing to alleviate my concerns about the FA and in particular its leadership. Let me say here that under normal circumstances I am pro-union. However, I was here five years before the strike and not a single representative of the union ever bothered to come and talk to me about the benefits of being a dues paying member and I am not the only person that can make that claim. I find that to be problematic especially since all the FA people keep saying we need more people to be stronger yet they don't reach out to newer faculty enough to gain their support. Another thing that bothers me is the FA never asked for more research or travel money yet those have been cut drastically since I got here and tenure track faculty need those resources to help in their pursuit of tenure. Lets go further shall we. Additionally, the FA essentially punted on the issues of a fair and just sexual harrassment policy and conflict of interest agreement. These are important issues way more important I would think than several of the other issues that they fought tooth and nail over and seemingly lost. For those of you who decided to strike I know alot of faculty supported your belief in the need to strike, what they didn't support was the FA and especially the leadership of the FA which is woefully out of touch with the FACULTY THAT IS HERE NOW!!!! New leadership is a must if the FA wants to be successful going forward. I would agree that many faculty who didn't strike found the FSN deplorable. I predict you will not get the 30% that you need and good riddance to you. There was a better way to decertify the union and it was not during the heat of the negoitiations. While I did not strike I did support the idea of a strike by the FA. However, I feel that the FSN are a bunch of cowards who deserve no respect not because they don't agree with the FA but because of their inexcusabke behavior during the strike period. BTW I assure you that I am not alone in that sentiment! FSN should know that many faculty treated their constant e-mails like they were spam. Finally, I say good riddance to the strike and lets all work together to make this a better place to work. many of you may disagree with what I have said here and that is fine, however, what you can't disagree with is the fact that just maybe I am a part of the silent majority, which I believe to be true then the FA had better make some serious changes and engage the people who are HERE NOW. Give a serious look at your dues paying membership and tell me what you find missing to those of us who aren't members it's obvious. Welcome back colleagues and thanks for standing for what you believed in. however, don't fault those who didn't stand with you until you at least figure out why they didn't.

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  97. Anonymous 9:25 wrote: "He were told by the union people that 'it is likely that you won't even lose any pay.'"

    I find that hard to believe. Jim Clark was very clear with the GAU about the risks involved with striking. He explained on probably 3 different occassions that losing pay was a real possibillity. Yes, some back to work agreements end with no pay loss, but Jim made sure we all understood that losing pay was a real possibillity. I doubt he would have told GAU one thing concerning back to work and the FA another. Striking comes with risks. I would have thought that would have been obvious. Let's not blame or throw the IEA under the bus because someone thought they could strike without any risk.

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  98. Anon. 12:02 wrote (among other things):

    "I feel that the FSN are a bunch of cowards who deserve no respect not because they don't agree with the FA but because of their inexcusabke [sic] behavior during the strike period."

    Cowards, eh? Deserve no respect, eh? Why is that? Why are you throwing around those baseless insults of our colleagues? Did they dodge a draft? Did they kill your dog? You yourself say that you are unhappy with the FA and its leadership. Well, the easiest way for you to help have our future representation considered is to *sign the FSN card*.

    I, for one, strongly believe that a vote is needed by all faculty (NOT the ones here in 1996, but the ones who are here now) so that the faculty go on record saying what it is they really want. Do *you* know what *you* want, or are you just spewing? If, for example, you think that they were "cowards" (again, how?) for the *timing* of the card campaign, you can blame IL labor law for that, not them. And if there finally is a vote, are you ready to abide by the wishes of the faculty as a whole, or are you just in for more complaining?

    Everyone needs to calm down if we are to mitigate the true damage caused by this strike (i.e., the re-opened old wounds, and new rifts, among the faculty itself).

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  99. "Outcome after the strike: Sounds like FA took the BOT's pre-strike offer. Good news is that it's now contractual, bad news is that the new contract actually got rid of the 30 day limit but allowed immediate layoffs if necessary." [Faculty at Work]

    Sorry, but you are dead wrong about this one. The deal gives you a full academic year before you are laid off. Moving the definition of FE to AAUP language and significantly extending the time between announcement and actual layoff are two things that came in negotiation during the strike.

    I also think you spin your other points more than a bit unfairly, but this one is really wrong. Read the contract when it is available. Don't speculate and fabricate in your "review."

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  100. AS a non-union member outside the University, I can't help wondering if those who are so strongly anti-union are willing to give up the 40 hour work week. Or their pensions and health benefits. Without unions and their leadership in the 20th century, none of these would be here today.

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  101. Most folks here would love a 40 hour week. Faculty tend to work far more hours than that (my week is typically 55-65 hours and my average day from when I arrive to when I leave is 9.75 hours) Also, The FA does not negotiate either pensions or health care benefits (those are fixed by the State of IL). So your examples don't seem to really apply here

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I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.