Thursday, September 22, 2011

FA voting procedure

FA strike authorization vote:

Wednesday (9/28) 9 am - 4 pm 
Student Center (Mackinaw Room)

Faculty members should have received an email from Randy Hughes giving procedures for the strike authorization vote next Wednesday (9/28). Voting will be open from 9-4 in the Mackinaw room in the student center (one of the river rooms upstairs above Starbucks).

The procedure includes what will seem a fairly convoluted means for absentee balloting--but the process is set up to ensure the integrity of the vote. You will need to hurry to get in absentee ballots via mail, so if you wish to vote for mail get to this as soon as possible.  The procedure may also be used if you want to have another faculty member walk your ballot over to the Mackinaw room on the 28th.

This is a crucial vote. And only dues-paying members can vote. If you get a completed membership form to the FA office in Carterville by 9/27, you will qualify as a member for the purposes of this vote. Information on membership is available on the FA website.


  1. Dave - I asked this before, but you didn't answer. If I join the FA in order to vote, can I quit after the vote?

  2. Response to Anonymous 2:28:
    Why would you want to do that--you moron? join the FA union just to vote on the strike issue and then quit after the vote?

  3. Is name calling really necessary? Of course I want to join to avoid a damaging strike.

  4. But you don't want to pay to have that right.

    It's a rational response, so you are not a moron. I can think of some other choice names that appropriately describe your idea.

  5. I should add that I joined the union when I started at SIU to be able to have a voice to stop a strike, should there be a strike vote. At the time, I never would have thought that I would be here supporting a strike.

    My harsh response to Anonymous 2:28/4:11 is out of frustration that s/he is out to find a loophole in the system of membership = voting rights. I anted up for years to be able to stop a strike. I feel like I'm being taken for a chump by someone who wants to be able to vote without having to pay.

  6. My feelings aren't terribly hurt by the reaction that my post received, but this is a common notion on campus right now among non-members represented by all of the unions. Those increasing numbers that Natasha keeps talking about might not be for the reasons you suspect!

    Paranoid - You are right that I don't want to pay for the right. It seems so strange to me that a tenured professor should have to pay in order for their opinion to count in such matters.

  7. Sorry not to catch this question earlier, though I'm almost as sorry to answer it. No, there is no law or IEA or FA procedure which prevents one from joining for one day, voting no, and then precipitously quitting. You may also legally join the PTA in time to speak out against funding for schools at one of their meetings, and then beat a hasty retreat, or join a local church to promote atheism at the annual church picnic, only to quickly return to your true atheist colors. But I suppose either of those tactics would require a certain amount of courage.

    As one of my reasons for supporting fair share is precisely to encourage broader membership in the union, I have always encouraged one and all to join and stay, and work to change the union from within if you think it is ill run. There are no doubt some long term members who will vote no the 28th. I think that's the wrong vote, but I respect their opinion. And their course of action-joining, informing themselves, arguing their position, and voting their conscience--strikes me as a principled course of action.

  8. This whole recent argument is rooted in something the humanities know only too well: false bipolar contrasts! Except in this case, they like the union-non-union distinction! But Anonymous 8:10's post indicates that the issue is far more complex! The union appears to rigid to reflect all of the faculty's diverse concerns, and too weak to confront the administration without confronting it's own loathing for non-union faculty!

  9. Are FA membership rolls public? If so, do they also include duration of membership?

    And it's "binaries," not "bipolar contrasts," that is a humanities stalking horse, purportedly!

  10. I don't think the rolls are confidential, though some choose to pay dues in cash rather than via payroll detection so as not to announce their status to the administration. Certainly FA outreach people have had access to membership lists so as to know whom to approach to get to join (or to remind to vote). And I also suppose that the IEA has some record of when people joined. But there is, again, no rule prohibiting folks who've recently joined from voting. One reason, of course, is that while some may join for a day to vote no others may join to vote yes, and stay in.

  11. Procedural question.

    Who counts the votes and who will certify the count? Its obvious to all that the FA/IEA **REALLY** wants this strike. Who is responsible for "keeping 'em honest"?

  12. excuse me, I meant to write ... the FA/IEA leadership **REALLY** wants this strike ...

  13. How much sense do you think it would make for the FA to go on strike if its members don't actually vote to authorize it to do so? So we stuff the ballot boxes, cheat our own members, then call a strike and . . . no one shows up. A brilliant ploy. If we're going to suggest conspiracy theories that would have folks act in an utterly reprehensible manner, let's try to at least credit them with some rational motive.

    As it happens, I've volunteered to help count the votes. For what it's worth, I'm not planning on acting in a morally despicable manner when I do so. Just in case you were wondering.

  14. And because you say we should trust you, we should trust you right? Same standard you apply to what the Chancellor says? Same standard you apply to Faculty who do not agree with the FA's views right?

    The FA leadership has a LOT riding on this, starting with their credibility and possibly ending with a decertification petition. So the temptation to fudge is certainly there. Since this will affect the entire campus community, there must be no appearance of the potential for impropriety (unless you want the vote to have about the same credibility as the Iranian elections). That protects everyone, including the you as vote counter. (Do you want to have whispers around campus that the vote was close so Dave knocked out a few "hanging chads" to make it work out "right"?)

    You knew before you touched the keyboard that what you wrote, (that its OK for the fox to guard the hen-house, because the fox is a nice guy and said we should trust him) is a crappy argument. Find impartial election judges!

  15. "I don't think the rolls are confidential"

    Where does one get the list? Human Resources? It's amazing how much data is available on public employees ("sunshine laws" and all that). I suspect the list would show that some departments would be disrupted and many others not.

    At any rate, I'd love the list. I suppose it would be a state FOIA?

  16. Anon 5:56 is right, of course.

    With all its new dues income the IEA should be able to spring for hiring a couple of local attorneys (with no connection to the IEA or the university) for the day to guarantee the integrity of the process. Don't cut corners and leave the process open to subsequent challenges. Far too much is at stake.

  17. To Anonymous (5:56 PM):

    From the election procedures sent to FA members:
    "At 4:01 p.m. on September 28, 2011, the Election Committee shall count all valid ballots, including valid Absentee Ballots, and provide a tally of ballots to the Association President at the conclusion of the counting. Any FA member may observe the counting of the ballots."

    The election procedures also go into detail about the procedures for ensuring that only FA members vote and that no one votes more than once. Although it doesn't say so in the procedures, I don't think the FA would object a member or group of members spending the day in the polling place to observe and confirm that the procedures are followed.

    Nonmember observers, well THAT would be the fox guarding the henhouse.

  18. Our rules allow any member, including those who oppose authorizing a strike (and some are indeed on record as doing so, as is the vociferous Dr. Bean) to observe the election and the counting of votes.

    I've also heard some FA members worry that the administration will tamper with votes cast via campus or even US mail. Call me naive, but I find both sets of worries groundless. I hope they are a reflection more of the overheated passions of the current crisis than of a deep-seated belief that either side is so utterly lacking in integrity as to attempt to rig a vote.

    Think about what you are accusing your colleagues of. Anyone who would sell their soul to rig a FA vote, pro or con, doesn't have a soul worth selling. And yes, my dear anonymouses, of course I may in fact be a lying bastard posing as someone with a modicum of moral fibre. Luckily, only I moderate comments, so I can term myself a lying bastard without fear of censorship. Others will continue to need to use more decorous language when suggesting that I am a lying bastard.

    In case you haven't noticed, however, critical comments do indeed continue to appear here. I suppose you will suggest that I am saving up my dirty tricks for election day itself, while putting on a show of allowing one and all to voice their opinions as they see fit on every other day of the year. Who would have thought that I was so clever?

  19. Iranian elections! Chards! The Beano making a decision everyone knew he would make anyway! Oh dear, the opposition is really getting heated up if all they can now do is voice paranoid fantasies. But isn't that characteristic of those who are engaged in denial at this present time? Even though the banal platitude, "These things will pass" may be uttered, if they are not opposed they will become permanent as part of an "imposed contract."

  20. You're missing the bigger picture here. Specifics aside, what this thread has become is a discussion of how little faculty not aligned with the FA trust that organization and/or its officers. Its a common theme here but no one within the FA seems to give a damn. I guess when you believe you have a perpetual mandate, you don't have to. Risky attitude when you are gambling with such high stakes. Oh well, at least Anon 1:08 acknowledges that there is an opposition.

  21. This is rather embarrassing after my blustering here, but I won't be able to help count votes Wednesday at 4 as I'll be playing soccer & tennis dad instead, my alternative childcare scheme having fallen through. Any member without two nine year olds on their hands is welcome to take a look at what's going on Wednesday, however, throughout the day.


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