SIUC Faculty Association Press Release 9/15/2011
SIUC Faculty to Hold Strike Authorization Vote
SIUC faculty will be voting on September 28th on whether to authorize their elected representatives to initiate a strike.
The Faculty Association's Departmental Representatives Council (DRC), whose elected members represent their departments' tenured and tenure-track faculty, voted unanimously tonight to hold a strike vote on September 28th. On that date the entire membership of the Faculty Association will be asked to vote on whether to empower the DRC to initiate a strike by tenured and tenure-track faculty at SIUC.
"Faculty Association members have gone for 442 days now without a contract," said DRC Chair David M. Johnson, an associate professor in SIUC's Department of Foreign Languages. "We started trying to reach an agreement with the administration back in April of 2010," Johnson said, "but nothing we've tried so far has worked. They shut down bargaining this spring to impose draconian terms on faculty and other campus unions. While negotiations have since resumed, no significant progress has been made on a number of critical issues. The administration has left us with no option other than to prepare for a strike."
SIUC faculty are deeply worried about the erosion of their status on campus, especially the threats posed to faculty tenure and academic freedom by recent actions taken by the SIUC administration.
"The administration demands the flexibility to cut our salaries and to fire tenured faculty, but has shown no flexibility at the bargaining table," Johnson added. "They are demanding that we surrender our collective bargaining rights and allow them to cut our pay whenever they want to do so. And despite claiming that they support the tenure system, they demand the power to fire even tenured faculty members without any of the due process protections tenure has long provided to university professors."
Among other key issues for faculty are preserving faculty members' academic freedom to teach their courses as they see fit, and ensuring that SIUC devotes sufficient resources to academics. Other administrative spending decisions, including those to double the athletics budget over the past five years and to redirect hundreds of thousands of dollars to a new marketing campaign, have been the subject of concern both on and off campus.
"It's time for faculty to take a stand to protect our academic values, our university, and our students," Johnson said. "We do not want to go on strike, but if a strike is the only way to protect quality education at SIUC, we will go on strike."
The full text of the motion is as follows: Resolved: The Departmental Representatives Council (DRC) calls for a vote of the Faculty Association membership on September 28th to authorize a strike and empower the DRC to initiate a strike.