February 2, 2012
An open letter to Chancellor Cheng
Dear Chancellor Cheng,
As expected, I noted along with others who had honored the strike, a cut in our February paychecks. In my case, I expect another paycut next month. What surprised me, however, was that the paycheck gave no reason for the cut—just a lower salary, that’s it. Last time, you administered a cut in our salaries it was duly noted as the cost of administrative closure days. I am sorry, I don’t have language suggestions for what you could call the strike days: dock days, fine for striking, ticket for loitering on campus, or simply--on strike. But noting the reason for the salary reduction would be the transparent thing to do.
As far as money goes, there is little difference in the loss of pay between the furloughs you had imposed on us last year and the cost of going on strike this year. But there is a world of difference in what it means for my self-respect as a faculty member. The furlough days were imposed on us without negotiation and that is why the FA insisted on our right to challenge their legality in the current contract. If we win, we will win back the loss of pay for all faculty and validate the principle of collective bargaining. The cost for going on strike, on the other hand, was a price I agreed to pay. So, I am not complaining about this cut, Chancellor but the discourtesy of not acknowledging the strike while making that cut. Could you then please revise my salary statement for this month, noting the days I was on strike? You may keep the money but I’d like to keep the record.
With best wishes for the New Year,
Associate Professor, Cinema and Photography