The Chancellor continues the Administration media blitz with a radio interview:
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I'll offer a few comments after the break, but really the Chancellor's comments in both venues are pretty much "business of usual" if you are in the business of "threaten" and "mischaracterize."
First, we truly are down to a game of saying it makes it so. On the one hand, the Chancellor denies that the Administration team says "no" to proposals and has "given, given, given" -- but then much of the rest of the interview suggests otherwise. What else is a "non-starter" but a firm "no"? There may necessarily be"non-starters" in any negotiation process on either side, but this use of "non-starter" reveals a contradiction in the Chancellor's defense of the Administration always being willing to negotiate.
All four unions report the Administration's negotiating tactics as extremely yes/no, with the typical strategy of presenting package deals and demanding an "accept" or "deny" of the entire package. The Administration resists creative problem solving and compromise.
And of course, the Chancellor continues to frame the issues with each union as only ones of money, money, money -- so much so that in some cases she grossly misrepresents the unions' positions. This happens for all four unions, but most egregiously with ACsE. I'm sorry, Chancellor, but your gloss on our clerical staff's very legitimate concerns was grossly inaccurate and offensive. They may have initially suggested that it is a problem for poorly paid staff to have to pay for parking for the privilege of working here, but that is not a major concern in negotiations and not what they are striking over. Likewise ludicrous and patently false claims about "signing bonuses"!
As always, note what the Chancellor doesn't say. Last Friday, she posted an email that petulantly denies claims by the unions that we have been working without a contract for 490 days now. That argument goes away. Perhaps because she finally sees it was foolish? One can always hope. Or maybe she finally realizes that referencing referenda in the unions is a bad argument for the Administration to make at this time.
The real give-away comes at the end of the interview when the Chancellor acknowledges that she received the questions in advance of the interview. I thought there was a palpable difference between this interview and the grilling Dave got last week or the agitation in President Poshard's on Monday. Perhaps now we know why.
As for the more recent email, yes Chancellor, we are aware of the consequences of a strike, especially for those colleagues not in the unions. Thank-you for the reminder. Please note, then, when any of these folks do honor the picket line, that they are expressing an extreme dissatisfaction with your leadership and vision for the future of this institution. We'll see if the turn-out and disruption are as minimal as you predict, although we understand why you must make these predictions the way you do.