Friday, November 11, 2011

Some initial thoughts on the strike

It's too early to fully digest what's just happened. And as I've yet to fully shed my spokesperson Dave persona, I'm not going to try to step back and try anything like a full analysis. But here are a few things that I think are pretty clearly true--though I'm sure many comments will dispute the significance of these things and suggest other truths.

1.  Whatever its earlier intentions may have been, by the day of the strike deadline the administration had decided that it was in its best interest to have the FA strike. By handing out major concessions to the other three unions, the administration guaranteed that those locals would settle. The administration offered the FA absolutely nothing on Wednesday of last week. It made not even the slightest superficial concession to provide the FA with a fig leaf to allow it to call off the strike, had it wished to do so. The FA was thus left with the option of abandoning the strike, which would have meant showing the strike to be a bluff, forever removing the tool of a credible strike threat and probably dooming the FA to oblivion, or striking.  So we went on strike. The administration then waited 48 hours to see if the FA could pull off a strike. We could. So they called us to resume negotiations.

2. The tentative agreement in the works between the FA and BOT differs substantially from the last administrative proposal before the strike. Full analysis of just how and how much it differs will have to wait, but that it differs is I think obviously indisputable. Could the FA have gained this much without a strike? Well, we would have been happy to have done so, and had been trying to do so for 16 months. Could the administration have ceded this much ground without a strike? Ask them.

3. The strike was an existential struggle for the FA. The FA would have been in very difficult circumstances had it either failed to strike after saying it would, or lost the strike (by failing to secure meaningful concessions from the administration after the strike began). The very least that can be said, I think, is that the FA survived the strike. The FA is not out of the woods yet, of course--the FSN is still collecting petitions in order to put an end to the FA. I believe the FA is far stronger than it was before the strike began, but that is of course a matter of opinion, at least at this stage: we will have to see how things turn out.

4. Student support for the FA was not only a means that helped the FA to continue and strengthen the strike, thus gaining further concessions, but itself a constituent part of what the FA was able to achieve. The student rallies weren't simply means to some victory, but were a victory in themselves. The hundreds of students marching with faculty across campus strengthened both faculty and students here, I think, in ways that can help shift the power structure on campus, and could well result in increases in enrollment large enough to offset those students scared off by the strike itself. This is a campus where students have found their voice.  While that evidently frightened and disturbed some people, for others it will (with rather more justification, in my view) instead show that SIUC is the sort of place students should consider choosing for themselves. The student support was not, precisely speaking, for the FA as an organization or for the exact positions the FA was supporting at the bargaining table.  It was and is, I think, rather a more widespread vote of confidence in SIUC faculty. This seems to me to be an altogether good thing for SIUC.

5. The FA members I know feel good about what we've accomplished. This doesn't mean that we are glad that we went on strike, only that, since we were forced to go on strike (as per #1 above), we are proud of how well we held together and pursued our goals. We managed to get people to the picket lines, feed them, support them, maintain a respectable media presence, and hold the whole thing together.  And we made progress at the bargaining table. We're proud of that. FA opponents may believe that we are delusional, of course, but one necessary (if insufficient) condition for FA success is the FA believing it has secured a success. That's what we believe. I think most in the FA feel better not only about the FA but about working at SIUC--thanks largely to the student support we received. We obviously do not think the administration acted wisely in provoking this strike. But the experience of the strike has inspired us to go back and serve the students who supported us with renewed energy and commitment.

6. The administration promised rather more than it could deliver. It is true that the majority of classes on campus continued to meet with their regular instructors (something that was guaranteed by settling with the NTT and GA unions, even had more TT faculty honored the strike). But "qualified substitutes" did not magically appear to cover for (i.e., against) faculty who honored the strike. By requiring students to attend classes whose sole point was attendance (so as to produce the appearance but not the reality of "business as usual"), the administration helped stoke student resentment, increasing student support for the FA.

7.  Administrative attempts to stifle communication also backfired. The Facebook censorship scandal was the most egregious here, and in keeping with the old maxim that the coverup is worse than the crime, the administration's claim that only obscene FB postings were deleted was very clearly false. This story quickly gained a life of its own, and the administration eventually realized its error and reopened the Facebook page to all comments. The administration also attempted to stifle communication by locking striking faculty out of their SIUC email accounts. This action, while legal, was obviously designed to cut off communication between the FA and the faculty--and particularly to cut off communication between the FA and non-members, as the FA had made a big effort to collect non-SIUC emails for members. But of course in this day and age any faculty wanting to know the FA side of the story could simply go to the FA website (or this one).  The administration had more success cutting off electronic communication between students and striking faculty--but of course this "success" did not exactly reflect positively on the administration. At any rate, administrative efforts to shut down communication brilliantly illustrated that the FA's push for transparency was justified. 

8.  On the whole, all the major players--FA, administration, and students, acted with restraint. This augurs well for the future. The FA chose not to picket the Open House, and FA picketers were overwhelmingly friendly, positive, and creative, rather than shrill, negative, or angry. So too the administration deserves some credit for restraint. Unless they stir up trouble by attacking faculty or students for bogus violations of some obscure & unpromulgated regulation against things like carrying signs in the student center--fears stoked by their back to work proposal--the administration will deserve a certain amount of credit for not attempting to stifle student demonstrations or push those faculty picket teams who were on campus off campus. Nor did the administration carry through on its threats to cut off health insurance and other benefits (efforts which would have cost far more in administrative costs than any costs savings to the university).  Most importantly, the student protest was overwhelmingly for faculty, not against the administration.

As it stands, then, I believe that those faculty who went on strike and those students who marched in support of us believe that while it was unfortunate that a strike was necessary, the strike itself was an empowering and positive experience. I cannot speak for those who worked on campus, through choice or necessity, during the strike. There will obviously be tensions and divisions going forward. I hope that those on both sides will realize that we are better off putting those divisions behind us, treating each other professionally and with respect, and concentrating on what is in the best interest of our students and our university going forward.


  1. I agree that the admin wanted FA to strike. But the real questions are

    1) Why?

    2) Why, then, did the FA do it?

  2. Very well said Dave. Being from a union with a contract and "no strike/no lock-out" clause, I spent the strike on campus. To be honest, the events outside gave inspiration to those of us on the inside. Instead of a divided campus, I believe the events of the last week have left us stronger and closer.

  3. Dave - I don't think that the FSN will get the votes they need (and for many reasons other than dissatisfaction with the FA), but their effort has raised an important question in our bargaining unit. Given the low turnout for the strike (I know you could argue that many more supported it but didn't strike), do you think that the FSN has a point regarding the need to reassess our representation? Are you opposed to a poll of faculty to determine interest in retaining the FA? Even if the FSN in unsuccessful in their decertification attempt, it seems that the FA needs to demonstrate that most faculty still want their representation. I'm not a member of the FA and I was opposed to this strike. If, however, a majority of faculty came out in support of the FA in such a poll, I would be more supportive and would probably even join. I hope I'm wrong, but my sense is that the FA isn't too concerned that their views only represent a fraction of the unit they are bargaining for.

  4. Why the leadership of FA is reluctant to let all faculty to vote if the Admin offer is acceptable before going to strike?

    As someone says here "The FA DO NOT CARE about YOU as an individual, they only care about you while there is a paycheck they can draw dues from". Since the FSN people definitely are not due member, who care?

  5. So - Mr. Poll-the-Faculty, you're implying that only a fraction of the bargaining unit want to retain tenure?
    The agreement was critical, the demands mild, the issues universal.

  6. It was just a simple suggestion. I hope that Dave or someone else with the FA will respond as to why they are for or against such a poll. Wackos need not respond.

  7. @ Anon 10:04..

    Uh... what? That post of yours is rather difficult to follow. Are you trying to say that (1) the FSN is an organization of monkeys from Africa? and (2) The FA is currently enjoying its strongest level of support in its history? (I'd find the latter almost as hard to believe as the former, simply because (I hope) the union came into being under the auspices of a majority faculty vote in 1996, and there's no evidence (by membership or strike participants) that it enjoys majority backing now).

    In any case, please try again -- perhaps I misunderstood you.

  8. Dave,

    I cannot comment on what the FA directly gained or lost. I have no desire to speak to the merits of the strike. My advisor and another committee member did not strike (so far as I am aware that is), while three others did--all of whom I respect and admire. Another member is a prominent administration official. I am appalled by the level of acrimony and mudslinging that went on, behind anonymous labels no less. Maybe there is something to be said for catharsis. Maybe. But in my opinion, the bitterness far outstripped what was at stake. Reading the venomous comments by faculty was a big disappointment. All I can say is yuck. I'm sure for some members felt it was worth it, but having witnessed real fighting in the military, I don't feel like it was. While reading this blog on breaks at the archives, I stumbled onto local news mentioning the pension crisis--while the strike was still ongoing--and saw that Poshard along with other state university presidents were fighting an even bigger threat to quality education in this addlepated state. I'm willing to concede-not least for the sake of argument-that the strike was necessary. But how the war of words was conducted turned me off.

    I sincerely hope to see some fence mending.

    Nathaniel Davis

  9. @ Poll the faculty?

    I certainly agree (as anyone who has read my post already knows) that we need a faculty-wide vote. However, I also understand the points made by Jonny and others (whose most recent one in another thread I haven't responded to yet) that to really make the vote fair, the possible alternatives to the FA have to be properly fleshed out.

    I admit that while my tendency in such a vote --at this time, anyway -- would be to vote against the FA, it's easier to say that without knowing what else I could be voting *for*. So, as the sun sets on the deadline for the FSN's card campaign, I'm coming around to the idea that maybe it's not the worst thing in the world that this effort slows down a bit and people can devise our true options. That doesn't mean I want the idea for the vote to go away though, and I know that there are many who feel the same way. 2014 is maybe not so far away.

    In fact, now (assuming the card campaign fails) that the FA has nothing existential to fear from faculty input along these lines, perhaps they would even be interested in helping to organize a poll of the faculty to find out what they want (nothing to lose, potentially lots to gain). But we'd still need to hear more about what our potential options are before we could even do that.

  10. I rather awkwardly deleted the post beezer refers to at 10:04. I've also, perhaps awkwardly, aimed to start another thread on the FSN (rather than the strike) by a new post. Perhaps I've lost my touch.

    The FA proposed a faculty referendum on fair share to the BOT, by the way--a proposal that was rejected. Should the FA promote a vote that could put it out of existence? I think that's probably too much to ask for--it's the equivalent of having the Chancellor back a no-confidence vote. But if 30% sign their cards, we will have some sort of vote. I'd prefer a straight decertification vote to the mess with a FS option--but that gets me to my next post.

  11. "I admit that while my tendency in such a vote --at this time, anyway -- would be to vote against the FA, it's easier to say that without knowing what else I could be voting *for*."

    I'm not sure what good it would do. The IEA has professionals organizing and stumping for the FA. The FSN has . . . Mike Eichholz. He has 75% of the cards he needs but with no fair share most scientists and others are just apathetic about FA. It really doesn't affect our lives.

    It could be a vote of confidence without having an alternative. But the apathetic majority will stay home. It's not like American elections where all those born in the USA are prisoners - so to speak - of the electoral system and its outcomes. The winners may take your money, put you in a uniform to fight wars, etc. The FA means nothing to a lot of faculty.

    I do know faculty across disciplines who are applying for jobs elsewhere. Clearly the atmosphere is poisonous. And SIUC is a laughingstock - not only because of this but all the other scandals of the past years.

    In general, though, I think a poll of some sort is a good idea. Under the above conditions, the union would still be in power but perhaps a third-party can craft the questions since the FA is so fond of delegating the BOT's authority to others . . . goose and gander, you know.

  12. Don't get so heady about Student Power. Students don't have classes. It's TH or Friday (when many students skip anyway). So why not get out and march?

    I'd like to see more student marches through the library, one student at a time. But as bottom-scraping U, I don't hold high expectations.

  13. I think Nathaniel Davis raises an interesting point about how we manage debate. This blog added a lot the was positive in terms of providing up to date information and a venue for debate. But there was a great deal of incivility, from both sides, that I think lowed the prestige of faculty in the eyes of students and the public. On the other hand, the Admin's censoring its Facebook site was an even bigger public relations disaster. How better to handle similar situations in the future is something to be thinking about.

  14. Here I agree with Dave, wholeheartedly even:

    "On the whole, all the major players--FA, administration, and students, acted with restraint."

    Ignoring the anonymous war of words online, and the to-be-expected rhetoric of leaders on both sides, the actual conduct of the strike was done with restraint on all sides. In fact the FA picketers were so cheery, I half believe Morteza's comment that this was a recruiting drive. After all, as I drove to work people were smiling and waving as if they were opening a new car dealership! LOL

    If the strike had gone on and one, there would be hard feelings, especially among the faculty. So far, it seems my own department is back to work - and we have a lot to do. We all knew where everyone stood (and there were "middle of the road" positions) before, during and after the strike. That's why I think it is all the more important for people to air their opinions (yes, names attached) without name calling.

    In short, while readers of Anonymous rants may think we are all at each others' throats, the reality was/is different.

    That is a good sign.

  15. @Polling,

    A poll of the faculty is being done by the FSN now. No one opposes their right to do this. I am not signing their card because I want the advantages of a union. If the FSN cannot get even 30% to sign then it is clear most faculty want the FA to remain their bargaining agent. So, why don't they join? Because they don't want to pay dues. It is not rocket science. Many more people listen NPR than donate to it.

    In canvassing the faculty before the strike I talked to several people who voted for the strike authorization but said they had no intention of striking!

  16. I concur with Jon's comment. Even Poshard was seen waving at picketers as he drove by. But he wouldn't honk :-(

  17. @ Anon 11.11 (who said):

    "...but with no fair share most scientists and others are just apathetic about FA. It really doesn't affect our lives..."

    Well, if there was anything (non-contractual) that was positive about the strike, it would be that I think it is harder to say that anymore (the strike affected me, and I'm in a department where I think nobody honored the strike). Put on top of that all of the craziness going on with penion reform, I think that the question of collective representation (who and what) is as meaningful as ever.

    Re: the "laughingstock" comment, I just don't believe it (and I certainly don't worry about it). I have *never* had a colleague at another institution, or a reviewer on a proposal (or anyone / anything else) make the slightest comment that they didn't respect SIUC or the faculty here (but I certainly have had a large number expressing the opposite emotion--unsolicited). People may send out their apps, but the grass isn't necessarily any greener somewhere else, and every place has its problems (how would you like to be in Happy Valley about now??)

    Ok, this topic is rapidly moving to another thread, but...

    @ Mike: I don't think the card campaign really qualifies as a poll (as discussed elsewhere)--it's just a petition (where the signer has to be told that they are not really voting for the thing they are signing that they are voting for). Clarity matters I guess!

    I get your other points, but when you say:

    "In canvassing the faculty before the strike I talked to several people who voted for the strike authorization but said they had no intention of striking!"

    OK -- that I don't effing understand at all. Who would *do* that? I can't relate to that line of thinking. (Moving on to the new blogpost on this topic...)

  18. @Mike - The FSN petition doesn't count. It is being vehemently opposed by the FA and its members. I was specifically wondering if Dave and other FA leaders oppose such a poll on principle and why.

  19. beezer said...
    @ Anon 10:04..

    Uh... what? That post of yours is rather difficult to follow. Are you trying to say that (1) the FSN is an organization of monkeys from Africa?

    at Beezer - I am not an FSN supporter but faculty on campus who acknowledges the power of unions and would suggest that FA undertake a major recruitment drive to rebuild the union- one strategy would be to poll faculty on the way forward ( not those FSN cards) - the fees are also high for me - nevertheless I took offense on your comment above " the FSN is an organization of monkeys from Africa?"

    I do have roots from Africa and I am proud to be part of that continent

  20. I agree with my colleague Jon Bean. As one of the "yes but" individuals on 9/28, I felt compelled to strike because I believed the administration was trying to bust the FA. I also believed that tenure ought to mean something should I attain it next year.

    This was never about being bitter toward our colleagues who chose differently. Down by the SIU arena last Thursday and Friday, we just started waving toward everyone driving by. And you know what, people were receptive. I am enough of a lapsed Catholic to know that no good deed goes unpunished.

    We do have to move on and begin the healing process. But that does require some acknowledgement that there were serious grievances on this campus that led even waverers such as myself to feel compelled to strike last week.

  21. I have a question:

    There's nothing in writing yet, and it is perfectly possible that no agreement will be reached - the administration may likely stonewall.

    What then? Could FA resume the strike? Or would it require another notification of the Labor Board, vote, etc.?

  22. My layman's understanding was that Morteza Daneshoost and the other members of the bargaining team respected the FA membership to such a degree that they did not "Temporary Agreement" the remaining portions of the contract left before they had a chance to brief the Departmental Representative Council meeting on Wednesday night. There was a very spirited debate at that meeting, which any FA member can attend, which is why I attended it. The tweaks the contract needed in our view were so minor to not justify going on strike any longer than we had. The vote was near unanimous to call off the strike.

    The contract still needs to be ratified by the FA membership. It was acknowledged by some at the meeting that by voting to return to work we were removing a major leverage point for Professor Daneshoost and other members of the bargaining team. Personally, as someone not in a position to vote, I felt at the time that we made our point and it was time to go back to the classroom.

  23. @ Anon. 8:12 Who said: "nevertheless I took offense on your comment above..." [that a previous poster made about monkeys] and "I do have roots from Africa and I am proud to be part of that continent"

    No-no-no, that's NOT me -- I was responding to a strange post made by another person (again, it's not *me* who made the monkey comment, and I was questioning it).

    I think they were *trying* to be offensive to FSN faculty, but honestly it was so incoherent that I couldn't be sure. However, our moderator pulled the original post because of its potential to offend (so it's not there anymore, but see 11:04 post from Dave), which is quite understandable, but now mine is hanging in the wind... :-) Sorry for any misunderstanding...

  24. It was also explained to some of us in the room on Monday night, when the basic contours of agreement over full AAUP definition of FE, etc., were announced, that to backslide on anything in the written counterproposal would be what is known under Illinois labor law as "regressive bargaining," which is 100% illegal. So, stonewalling can occur on items not written down but not on items contained in formal proposals of the BOT.

    So the chances of stonewalling on things major were regarded by the DRC as so nil at this point that they voted to call off the strike.

    I know the optics of it might be less than ideal - I was indeed talking to a friend in the local community just last night who thought we were screwed because we hadn't had an interim contract yet. But legally we're on much safer ground because of the "regressive bargaining" prohibitions under the IELRA and other relevant statutes.

  25. Joe Sramek wrote:

    "I am enough of a lapsed Catholic to know that no good deed goes unpunished."

    Joe, I think you mean "no good deed goes UNREWARDED."

    Galatians: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

    But more along your lines (from James):

    "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

    As a fellow Catholic, I'm not used to quoting Scripture (though I studied it in college) until I moved here to the Bible Belt! : - )

  26. Thank you to the good Dr. Bean for setting me straight on Scripture! My pious daily-mass-going grandmother right now up in Heaven would approve!!!

  27. The decision to call off the strike before a tentative agreement was finalized showed a bit of--get ready--trust. Joe is right that the trust is ultimately backed up by the law against regressive bargaining, but trust was required on the level of a shared commitment to clarifying the language of the final administrative counter-proposal in keeping with both parties understanding of what it was supposed to say.

  28. Let's then wait and see what'll transpire...

  29. After I discussed with my wife for the whole night, I decide to apply a job somewhere else. It is very heart-broken since my wife loves her job and my kids love Carbondale so much.

    In my department, about half faculty participated the strike, another half didn't. This strike will divide my colleagues in long run in dealing with various issues within the department. People already start to talk about those didn't go on strike are free-riders. The tolerance to different views here is very low, unfortunately.

    I didn't join the strike and opposed this movement, and my choice won't make the union people here happy. The relationship among faculty members is hard to repair and to maintain. This strikes really damaged the working condition among us, and I would rather not to have the raise but good relationship with my colleagues. Now it will be not easy.

    The FA people may feel now they are getting stronger, but what is the cost for others who disagree with them? All of us are getting worse working conditions than ever in terms of relationship.

    Good bye, I won't be back to this blog anymore. Dave's comments even make me more disappointed.

  30. 1:47PM

    Sad to see your comments. I also completely lost my confidence to our future at SIUC after I read through Dave's comments. The current chaos will continue if Dave's mind is FA's opinion.

  31. 1:47 PM,

    Best of luck to you whether it is here or somewhere else. I have been half jokingly suggesting we have a make up party in my dept - where the non strikes would bring the food! (Hopefully people would see the humor in that - but if feelings are very bitter it could backfire.) I hold no ill will toward those that did not strike. I will have a harder time forgiving non administrators who taught other people's classes for money, but I'm not going to harass them. One person from our dean's office that was told to teach classes made it a point to welcome me back and we shook hands. I appreciated that.

    I am not sure which of Dave's comments you and 2:09 PM are upset about. But Dave made clear he was not acting as the FA spokesperson and there are many different opinions among FA members.

    I think it is important to understand what a free-rider is and is not. People who regularly listen to NPR and do not donate - like me - are free-riders. People who really hate NPR but listen because they want to know what evil things liberals are saying are not free-riders. People who like the union contracts but don't join are free-riders. People who voted yes to the strike authorization but had no intention of striking are free-riders. People who disagree with the FA and so do not join are not free-riders. People who disagreed with going on strike and did not strike are not free-riders.

    Saying someone is a free-rider is not a hateful thing to do. It is a criticism of course, but not an attack. I believe we need to reach out to the free-riders and encourage them to join. I believe we should engage our critics in a thoughtful and respectful manner. (Of course we aren't prefect and sometimes we all get a little grumpy.)

    Again, best of luck to you!

  32. I'm a bit curious as to what people who thought my comments were the last straw expected me to say. As I said in introducing my remarks, I was trying to restrict myself to things that I think are pretty clearly true, and to steer away, as much as possible, from generalizing evaluations. I did not try to say who won or lost, or who was ultimately responsible for things coming to this point (I think it is indisputably the case that the admin made the final decision on the day before the strike, but one can of course argue that prior FA actions were the ultimate causes of the conflict).

    I did not attempt to make all relevant observations: I wasn't in my department during the strike, obviously, and have only been back for one day, so I don't know how much tension and division awaits me there. Those divisions are of course a result of the strike, which may have done more collateral damage to faculty than students--but, again, responsibility for this damage doesn't automatically fall on the FA (unless you believe that any faculty strike is irresponsible). As I don't teach on Thursdays, I've yet to meet with any of my classes, so do not know what my students think, though I met some of them on the marches around campus, and I know well what they think.

    The strike put all of us under a great deal of pressure--that is frankly part of a strike, a tool of applying pressure to an employer, a union's last resort. The pressure caught many in the middle. That pressure was not immediately released when the strike ended, though it should lessen. Going forward, all of us will have a responsibility to treat each other professionally and with respect, even if we believe that others acted in a way we do not approve of. Treating each other with respect does not require us to abandon our judgment as to whether the FA, the administration, or a colleague acted properly or not. But I for one am prepared to recognize that those who filled in for my classes did so because they were convinced that this was in the best interests of my students and SIUC. While I believe that they were profoundly wrong about that, that doesn't mean that I cannot treat them with respect and professionalism going forward, nor does it require me to view them with enmity.

  33. As Gerald Ford used to say, you can disagree without being disagreeable. I immediately resumed my friendly conversations with my colleague Jon Bean two doors down from my office door on Friday, and I harbor no ill-feeling toward him at all for choosing not to strike while I did. Indeed, for the two months leading up to the strike, his openness and willingness to discuss several of the most salient issues in the backdrop to the recent labor dispute here at SIUC were most helpful to this junior faculty member still trying to figure out this place.

    We do have to move on. That will require in each of us to have tact, to put away any sense of self-righteousness either pro-strike or anti-strike, and to pull together for the good of our students, for the good of our departments, and for the good of this university.

  34. Dave, You have nothing to apologize for. Let those who want to go elsewhere try t do it in this economic climate. They will soon learn as most of us did that "the first job is the last job" in an era where academic mobility (except for hot shots) has long gone. It is much better to remain and fight.

  35. @ Anon 1:47

    While you say that you won’t be back to the blog (and thus may not see this response), I will write this just in case…

    First, I am terribly sorry to hear about the departmental strife you (and your colleagues) are suffering through because of the divisions (resulting largely from the strike). While I and many others here have now come to realize that the greatest damage caused by the strike would likely be to faculty relations and cohesion, I am saddened by your feelings of exasperation and resignation and regret your decision to apply elsewhere. Many of us who read this are “lucky” enough to be in more homogeneous departments (i.e., most/all in or most/all out w/ respect to FA and strike) and I have been particularly concerned about departments that split pretty evenly in this regard. I’m not saying that the healing process will be easy (or even that everyone will perceive the wisdom in pursuing it, at least at first).

    However, if I may, I would only point out: 1) I think that the need to heel such divisions is widely recognized by all sides, and there is good reason to hope that inter-faculty relations (and hurt feelings) are at a nadir right now (and will get better in the future); 2) every place has its problems (including those that may not be immediately obvious upon cursory interview or visit)—and that the grass may not be greener in other pastures; 3) leaving will do nothing positive (but may in fact worsen) the situation for your colleagues and students; and 4) such monumental decisions are often best left when moments of high emotion have long passed (and thus I hope you will have the opportunity to re-evaluate your decision dispassionately (and with clarity) once you have an offer in hand from another institution (and that when that moment comes, you take time to talk about it with your chair and dean)).

    If I may flip what Anon. 5:32 said… Anyone who is a “hot-shot” enough to believe that they are good enough to leave on a whim probably can. And like every place, SIUC needs as many “hot-shots” as it can find—so I hope you’ll reconsider when you have the chance (find like-minded colleagues here to discuss these things if you’d like to), and wish you well with whatever final decision you make.

  36. I'm re-posting this in light of the comments above. Good luck for your future!
    Thomas the Rhymer.

    In Flanders fields the poppies grow,
    Between the crosses, row on row…
    Profuse they flower upon the ground
    where once a war was fought.
    But the blooms are only dressing
    on the wounds that battle wrought.

    The battle’s pain is surely past,
    The guns have ceased to bark at last…
    Though blood is staunched, the scars ache still
    where men their forts emplaced.
    And naught will grow ‘cept poppies now,
    where men their homes laid waste.

    Still today, a century past,
    The mines they sapped still tear apart…
    Below bloom’s root lies land still rent
    by blood and gore and steel.
    In the rock beneath the graves still lie
    the wounds that will not heal.

    Our battle has now ceased as well,
    How deep the wounds we cannot tell…
    And our fate too is writ in stone
    Our choices made and cast.
    The wounds we struck are open still
    But the scars we’ve made will last.

  37. I'll spell it out for yaNovember 12, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Mike said: "People who voted yes to the strike authorization but had no intention of striking are free-riders."

    This characterization misstates what the membership voted on initially. The *only* people who voted yes to strike were DRC members. The earlier vote of the membership was a vote whether to *authorize the DRC* to debate and vote on whether to strike; it was not a "strike authorization" vote. Again, only the DRC voted to authorize the strike. It is entirely possible that the DRC could have debated and voted not to strike. Thus it's possible that dues paying members of the FA who did not intend to strike nevertheless felt a democratic ethic to vote yes to authorize the DRC to debate the issue and vote on it. The DRC is the representative body. People who did not intend to strike and yet voted to authorize the representative body to debate and vote on the issue acted democratically -- and they pay dues! Would such people avoid the label "free-rider" only if the DRC had voted not to strike?!

    As everyone now knows, many dues paying members did not strike. That does not obligate them to vote against authorizing the representative body to debate and vote. Those who disagreed with the basis for striking in this instance, or who generally feel that striking is always dirty pool, and yet pay dues because they are represented by the FA, are both principled and principled.

  38. 11:17 I think you are a bit misleading about what the vote actually was about. As a waverer who eventually voted yes, I was very clear about why I was voting the way I was and what the potential consequences of that vote meant. As Mike counseled at the time: if you vote yes, you better be prepared to strike because it will do no good to bluff about that.

    On 9/28 I decided I would strike if necessary to obtain a fair contract. As an ordinary rank-and-file member, I knew what my vote was about. The meme that you are trying to develop here - that 92% of us were duped into following march-step into what our IEA handlers wanted us to do, is just ignorant, tin-hat wearing, nonsense. I knew when I voted on 9/28 that either one of two things would occur: 1) a strike; or 2) possibly the administration beginning to bargain in good faith. We got a little bit of #2 for a while, so much so, that I started to get a bit upset at my union for not providing more timely information about what was occurring at the bargaining table. But ultimately I am afraid #1 was inevitable to obtain the good contract that is in the works now.

  39. 11:17 PM,

    Reread what you quoted from me. Some people voted yes to the s.a., but never intended to strike. (People who voted yes but felt the DRC's decision was wrong might be able to say they were not free-riders.)

    In the future, if you are not willing to strike, don't vote to authorize a strike. OK?

  40. Mike I believe you were crystal clear on that point, so much so that you helped me decide what to do when I went to vote on 9/28. While I was hoping against hope that my colleague Natasha Z. was right that a strike authorization vote would induce the administration to begin bargaining in earnest, I was also aware that day (as I am sure she was too) that we might well have to follow through on our commitment to withhold our labor if need be.

    In the end of the day, this was so unnecessary. There were multiple moments over the course of the past 16-17 months when the BOT could have settled with us. That each of us in our own way will still have to deal with somehow. All I can say is I am very proud of the efforts of my union brothers and sisters, and proud that I could play a small role in the effort.

  41. Mike,

    Based on your description, those people who did not go to strike and yet voted to authorize the representative body to have more power in negotiation are quite self-fished since they are free-riders. If this is true, then most of FA members are quite self-fished. It seems to me that you undermind their integrity, and it is not fair to them. If your kids are in the classroom, and you walk away since you are not happy and decide abandon your obligation and responsibility. Are you still being considered to be good parents?

  42. To Thomas the Rhymer about Flanders fields:

    Thomas - nobody remembers, very few know what's this all about, and nobody cares. Just look around, or ask your students.

    "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

    We are on track to repeat it.

  43. 1:12 PM,

    Self-fished? You mean selfish? I did not follow your parent analogy.

    I only know of a few people know voted yes to authorize a strike but never intended to go on strike. (Remember not everyone voted. And there were a some people on leave who voted yes - I wouldn't call them free-riders, at least not in the moral sense, if they voted their conscience.) Most of the FA members did strike - maybe 200 out of 275. Some did not because they disagreed and some because of personal circumstances.

    Lots of us are free-riders with respect to one thing or another. Anyone who has read a little about game theory knows this. I am not condemning all free-riders. I am just encouraging them to step up to the plate. If you think union representation is a good thing over all, join the FA. If you vote to authorize a strike, be prepared to strike. That seems pretty basic.

  44. It is a distinction with a differenceNovember 13, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Continued from 11:17 ...

    In 2003 when the faculty actually got down to debating whether to strike, the debate was downright heated. The difference this time is that there were four unions threatening to strike, rather than just one. At the last minute, the administration took three unions out of the equation. Nobody knew this would happen at the time of the vote to authorize the DRC to call a strike. In fact, nobody knew at all what would occur between the initial vote of the membership and the DRC's discussion and vote to strike.

    Mike expresses that I voted to authorize a strike, and tells me how not to vote! (Would you also like to tell me who not to vote for in the next leadership election while you're at it? Heh heh heh.)

    In fact, I am a DRC member. I was not present when the vote to strike passed unanimously. Thus I did not vote to authorize the strike. What I did do was vote to authorize the FA representative body to debate and vote on whether to strike. Joe's point that I'm averring that "92% of us were duped into following march-step into what our IEA handlers wanted us to do, is just ignorant, tin-hat wearing, nonsense" is pure slight of hand. So back to the point being made.

    I had the unique opportunity to (1) vote to authorize the DRC to debate and vote on whether to strike, and (2) exercise my right as a DRC member to vote to authorize a strike. I did not exercise my second right, and hence Mike is missing the distinction between voting to authorize a strike and voting to give myself and others authority to authorize a strike. And *authority* is *precisely* the distinction. The membership vote granted authority to the DRC to authorize a strike, and only the DRC authorized a strike. If this is not a distinction with a difference, then what was the point of having the membership vote to grant the DRC authority? It was a two-step process for a reason.

    Joe and Mike are acting as if the outcome of the DRC debate and vote were a foregone conclusion. I had hoped that they were not. I was at the 6 1/2 hour Saturday series of presentations just before the semester began. Recall the Skype presentation by the fellow in Ohio who couldn't make it to our meeting? He went through five pillars that the unions needed to honestly consider before striking. I listened to those carefully. I strongly feel that the DRC mostly ignored the advice. That is, the DRC did NOT know how many members would picket; it did NOT know how many members who would not picket would nevertheless honor the strike by not crossing the picket line; it did NOT know the degree to which others outside the union(s) would support the strike by not crossing the picket line; it did NOT have a sense of the level of community support; and, it did NOT have a firm conviction that picketers would stay out on the line *indefinitely* if necessary. (As for the latter, the FA leadership in fact told everyone at the Saturday meeting to expect any strike to last just 2 days. I would have asked people if after the weekend, they could imagine getting up Monday morning and going back to the line. And then I would have asked if they could imagine starting yet another week the following Monday.)

    The advisor stressed that all five of these pillars MUST be in place before a strike is called. The DRC overlooked this advice and took its chances. And by gosh, if it weren't for the administration's PR gaffs and student support -- NEITHER of which were inevitable -- the FA may very well still be left out in the cold.

  45. It is a distinction with a differenceNovember 13, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Continued from 11:17 (due to space limitation)

    Hindsight is 20/20. On the day the membership voted to authorize the DRC to debate and vote on whether to strike, for all anyone knew, the debate could have lasted for days. At the time, I estimated that it should have -- given the advice we got from the fellow in Ohio. I'll repeat that the DRC mostly overlooked the advice of this very experienced person.

    Of course maybe that's to be expected, since so many are arguing now that the FA leadership falls on the maverick end of the scale vis-a-vis FA members who are more attuned to moderate faculty in the bargaining unit. I am spending the time to make my point clear so that as others consider whether to join the FA and re-align the leadership, they have a sense of the fact that the DRC indeed took chances that an advisor with some 17 years (or is it 25?) of experience with education labor strikes implicitly advised against. The advisor, in my view, would have smirked had anyone admitted at the time that the FA was facing, in Dave's words, "an existential struggle."

    I did the democratic thing and authorized the FA's representative body to represent the FA and debate and vote on striking. Later, it struck me as reckless that it seemed that the DRC would mostly choose to overlook the five pillars that the advisor said the union(s) MUST have in place before calling a strike. I viewed a strike as certainly more of a gamble than a well-planned strategy. And that's the sense that I get from Dave's report above. The FA gambled and got lucky. Luck is not a strategy.

    Back to the distinction with a difference -- and again, contrary to Mike's assertion -- I can genuinely say that I did not authorize the strike, because in fact I'm on the DRC, and I did not vote to strike. Again, if voting to authorize the DRC to call a strike and the DRC's calling of a strike are a distinction without a difference, then what's the point of the two-step process? I voted to authorize myself and other DRC reps to call a strike. When I realized that the DRC was prepared to overlook the expert advice that the unions went to some length to get us via an unexpected Skype presentation, I opted to skip the "debate" and strike vote.

    There are folks stating that they simply cannot fathom this reasoning. Those folks might ask themselves if their inability is correlated with the percentage of dues paying members of the bargaining unit. I have long felt that most of the FA leadership is a rather unique group, yet because I benefit from their work, and I sincerely appreciate how hard they work, I've chosen to pay a decade's worth of dues. This ride has sometimes felt like a reckless one, but it certainly hasn't been free.

  46. 11:17,

    (1) If at the time you voted to authorize a strike you were in fact willing to strike then your vote was sincere even if circumstances caused you to change your mind later. I was talking about people who never intended to strike.

    (2) I was at the Saturday meeting. Clark said faculty strikes rarely lasted more than 2 or 3 days. It was not a guarantee. Obviously people are not going to stay out indefinitely.

    (3) We did a canvas of the faculty and reported this to the DRC so they did know about how many people would strike and picket teams had been organized albeit imperfectly. We always knew one of more unions might settle and that they then would have to report to their jobs.

    (4) You had no right to opt "to skip the "debate" and strike vote." Your colleagues elected you to do a job, to argue on their behalf to the best of your ability even if you are in the minority. You have a right to resign from the DRC of course. But in the heat of battle we expect our leaders to hang in there.

    (5) Personally even if I had decided to vote no on the strike authorization I would have gone out if a strike was called. The power of a collective action is just that. After we have elected leaders and had a thorough discussion it should be majority rule. I realize faculty unions are new and most people don't quite get this ethic, so I am not judging people, like J.B., who disagree with me here. For example, if my department votes to hire someone and I disagree, I will still work with that person. If my country is a democracy and it goes to war I can protest, but I cannot refuse to pay my taxes.

  47. Mike basically suggests 'everyone should follow the leader'. This is a potential problem for the community (of course FA loves it). Many people have no idea what about FA when they join. They were simply dragooned into the union by some senior faculty members when they start their careers, for example, this always the case in our engineering school.

    “Follow the leader” is harmful and is against the academic freedom. When the FA claims how to protect academic freedom, as a supporter, you tell us to follow the leader?

  48. Free-rider Resolution Proposal:

    (1) Those people who went on strike should receive two year membership fee reduction by 25% to compensate their loss of the pay.

    (2) Those people who voted for strike but didn't go will be required to pay additional 25% membership fee for two years.

    (3) To encourage FSN people to join FA, their first year membership fee will be waived.

  49. 6:23PM

    I have a better proposal:

    Every one joins FSN. It is free, no charge. How about that?

  50. FA leadership needs to get instructions straight. My initial comment during a phone call with the FA Officer for my college was that I did not feel qualified to vote on behalf of faculty in my department because despite the fact that more than once I invited faculty to share with me their opinions about the potential strike, not one chose to speak to me about it. The college rep asked me how many faculty members in my department pay dues. I answered "one." I was then asked, "Is that you?" I answered "yes." And then I was told that I represented only dues paying members and therefore I needn't worry about voting only my own conscious, since I am the only dues paying member. Dems da facts.

    Now here's Mike at 5:34 telling me that I have a responsibility "to argue on their behalf to the best of your ability even if you are in the minority."

    Which is it?

    Moreover, I have never been "elected" so much as I've not been stopped from acting as my department's DRC rep because no one else to this point has had even a smidgen of interest in doing the service. (I suspect that's about change, and that will be good.) Every year I offer up the service to anyone who is interested, and every year I get the same round of snickers, except from the single faculty member who takes these opportunities to basically tell me I am a marked person who will continue to develop a poor reputation in that faculty member's view.

    It seems, Mike, that you have a rather idealistic view of how all this works across the various departments. And you seem to enjoy bullying a person who has spent $5,000-$6,000 over the years paying dues just so that a department that has near-zero interest in the FA can have some involvement in the DRC when involvement seems important.

    Anon 6:07 is right: at least some FA members talk academic freedom out of one side of their mouths when it's convenient, but then want to bully fellow members when they've discovered a pulpit to bully from.

    I have thought on my own, both with respect to my department, and with respect to the FA and the DRC, and when I wasn't sure what my duties were as DRC rep, I asked my college rep. Until now, I had been bullied by one side only.

  51. Anon. 6:23,

    Good work. Tomorrow I'm cancelling my membership in the FA.

    You see, the moderate faculty on campus are right. You people want to pick fights everywhere you can. Now that there's no strike, you're picking fights with your own membership! I've watched this attitude with bemusement for 10 years.

    You know how I describe most of you? I describe you as people who were likely to have "Question Authority" bumper stickers way back when those were popular, and it's just in your blood to fight even when there's no good reason to -- or sometimes even when it's against your own best interests. You can't see our own best interests through your penchant to fight for the sake of fighting!

    Go FSN!

  52. The selection of rep of DRC is not very serious. For example, in my department, the previous rep of DRC said: I recommend xxx to be next rep. I never heard any discussion (no meeting at all), a week later then I found xxx became the rep automatically, and xxx tole me that he took the job since no one wants it.

  53. 11:17,

    If you were the only member in your department then I'll withdraw my criticism of your opting out. But also, don't confound being criticized with being bullied.

  54. 11:17 (aka 7:26) I have another (parallel) suggestion. Anyone seeking any office in the FA should be required to publish their first grade report card, and any that say "does not play well with other children" should be barred from office. I bet that would thin the ranks at the top quite a bit!

    You're right of course, the culture of the FA is endlessly combative and confrontational and that is one of the compelling reasons that it has to go.

  55. 6:07 PM,

    I am not suggesting everyone follow the leader. The leader has one vote. If you were dragooned into joining than get a backbone and quit.

    My point (5) is not suggesting people's legal right not to strike be abrogated. I do want to suggest people think about when does the individual have an ethical obligation to follow a majority decision. It is a question that relates to the nature of an individual to the society. There are examples where individual rights trump collective authority and examples where they don't. Plato gives one answer in Socrates' Apology, while Thoreau's Civil Disobedience gives another.

  56. Mike (aka 7:42),

    That post sounds terribly like the administration stating:

    We apologize for censuring the university community on our Facebook page. But also we had just one worker on duty who had to go nighty night.

  57. Should we follow the group thinking even if we feel something wrong? One of the FA leader's tactics is to create group thinking in our community and take away of our individual thought.

    The true may be in minorities hands. Why we have to follow majority idea if we feel it is not right.

  58. James Madison: "It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part."

    Now many faculty members do not want the FA to represent them, no one want to be claimed as 'Free Rider'. Although it does not consider to be attacked, it is injustice of those people who didn't go to strike.

  59. 11:17,

    I withdraw a criticism and you come back with a snarky remark. Now who's the bully?

    We all went through a bruising experience. In hindsight we can probably find lot's of things the FA could have done differently and some things we as individuals could have done differently. But let's remember that we are getting a contract that will be much better than what the admin wanted to give us and our sister unions got very good contracts. We have a lot to be proud of.

    Analysis and debate are at the heart of what the academy is about, but let's not lose sight of the gains we have made. This experience should bring us closer together. In my department non strikers joined us on the picket lines and some nonmembers decided to join.

    I certainly respect all that people like 11:17 did. It must be very hard to be isolated within one's own department. I have always had it lucky in that regard and I can't imagine anyone being dragooned into anything either.

    Good night!

  60. I don't think there is any "free rider" for this strike. Every one in this community is suffering the consequence of the strike.

    This is why I feel uncomfortable that the FA leader claims "we are getting stronger, we achieve...."

    I am not sure if the FA really gets stronger, but I know the entire community is suffering.
    Next year if the enrollment drops significantly, our NTT fellows might lose their jobs and we may get back to last year situation.
    What benefit we have obtained as the FA is getting stronger? Better working condition? Do you believe it?

  61. Mike - You might be proud. I'm embarrassed. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of this entire turn of events - the FA thinks they won when in fact we all lost. Next fall when enrollment falls through the floor, you guys will blame John Nicklow.

  62. @ Anon. 9:22 -- Unfortunately you might not have to wait that long--I've heard that the year-after-year enrollment for this spring is down in all colleges but Science. Assuming that is true, that would not be a good sign, as these year-after-year early numbers typically *over*estimate enrollment trends (students keep enrolling earlier and earlier each semester). Still, a dip in enrollment is unlikely to be as bad as the damage done to faculty relationships (but we've all said that already).

  63. I read Dave's post on Friday...and today, Monday, my head is still spinning.

  64. Maybe 8:23 AM and 9:22 PM are just not used to controversy. It was a strike. Strikes are indeed nasty things. We all hope it never happens again. But it was not the end of the world. No one was killed. No cars where flipped over. No windows where broken. No trash cans were set on fire. I don't think anyone was even arrested. After I accepted the job offer here in 1996 I read about students flipping cars over in an after graduation party! I've been on campuses where post football game riots are common place. I don't mean to be rude, but if your head is spinning maybe you need get a grip and put things into perspective.

  65. Mike, I think it is you (and many of your FA brethren)that is out of touch. The damage that has been done to SIUC is serious and will have far reaching and long lasting consequences. We will see serious loss of enrollment, turn over among faculty, difficulty in hiring new faculty (if we can even hire at all since hiring freezes are likely to be in place for a long time as a result of enrollment declines) and worst, we will continue to see polarization of the faculty. There are faculty on this campus who will not speak to each other again.

    You may think, "the strike is over now we can all go back to the way it was before", but if so, IMO you are living in a fantasy world, disconnected from reality. Only time will tell which of us is right.

    I too read Dave's post and am appalled by how out of touch with reality it seems to be. "An existential struggle"? Come on. Student support? You must be joking! You maybe had a couple of hundred students, mostly from a few classes, come out in support of the strike. That is your sample? What about the 12,000+ that stayed in their classes? Those of us who talked with them know many of them were very ticked off and talk of transfers and avoiding taking classes in future from the faculty that were out, were common.

    You (and many FA supporters) are looking at the entire fiasco from a perspective of self gratification. You sacrificed so it must be worth while, right? You could not have made a mistake, right? You could not be wrong about what has happened, right? Because if you are, the OMG what have you done, right? Can't think that, or at least, can't admit to thinking that.

  66. 9:17 AM,

    Thanks for being a little more specific. I agree that "Only time will tell which of us is right." So, let's keep an open mind. It could be that you are wrong, it could be that I am wrong. Other campuses have had strikes and yet did not suffer enrollment drops. But, time will tell.

    Perhaps we can even work together to minimize the polarization of the faculty. I'm not seeing bitterness or polarization in my department, but my department may not be typical. This morning I made it a point to shake hands with a colleague who supports the FSN.

    Perhaps people can comment on what is going on in their departments and what they are doing to mend fences. I would certainly call on all faculty members to be respectful of their colleagues who disagree with them about the strike or the FA.

  67. In my Dept, no-one went on strike although we have not all agreed on issues. We are a dept that tends to get along anyway. We have three distinct sub-groups: measurement and statistics, special education, and counseling.

    For those of us in counseling, there was the realization that should any of us join the FA, we could never agree to strike. Our professional ethics would cause a conflict in that to strike would mean to refuse to offer clinical supervision for professionals-in-training working with clients with mental health issues. This client abandonment is an ethical violation that we are unprepared to take. I think, where I an FA member, I would need the "one size fits all" concept to be reconsidered.

    At the beginning of this semester, you all make laugh, but the counseling faculty were felling a bit burned out and battered -- both professionally (working so long with one less faculty member) and personally in terms of how stressors were affecting our working relationship. We used to eat lunch together once a week and enjoy each others' company, however, that was not happening. So we proactively took a Ropes Course together out at Touch of Nature. And then presented together at a National Conference about the insanity of our situation here at SIU. There was a lot of self- reflection, words of encouragement, laughter, and hard work. We are working together to update our programs to the new professional standards required by our profession. My point is, building a collegial atmosphere takes time, willingness to be vulnerable, willing to trust in the process, and recognition that like being a good teacher, researcher, or never "arrive." The minute you have "arrived," then you stop doing all that was needed to stay in the process of becoming a good teacher, researcher, colleague....

    The dialogue that is occurring needs to continue on a moment by moment basis. Changes can be made incrementally, person by person, program, by program. Yes, there are obstacles, but we don't have to face them alone. I remember being harassed and bullied for years after I came on board. No-one seemed able to help. But I learned a lot. How much I did not want to bully others. How to do my work and make allies focused on the students and research. The difference know is none of us need to be so isolated.

    I like the conversations we are having. Yes, of course I support the FSN. These are the sorts of things I wish had been happening all along. Whether we get the 30% or not, we, that faculty, need to look at ourselves and reach out, push the envelope, stretch out of one's comfort zone, get to know each other.

    Just my buck fifty and change. Kim

  68. Kim--

    I agree that your position makes striking a hard and probably impractical choice. Personally, I would prefer third party binding arbitration and a no-strike clause in our contract. But our Administration is not interested in such.

    I am glad you found the Ropes course at Touch of Nature beneficial. You should talk to some of the folks out there about how they have fared under the current Administration. The Administration has cut pretty drastically from their university budget, and they will likely have difficulty offering these programs without that money. A year ago, a colleague in Forestry was set to give testimony to the BOT about the value of the ToN program, but the BOT had taken a key vote on the status of that program before any such testimony was even heard. And that is how shared governance worked for them.

    So yes, your point about one-size-fits-all is well taken. But then, so is the caution about programs not represented by unions.

    Our conversations and work toward increased collegiality will be ongoing and never ending. If the FSN's petition fails this time around, I hope we will all learn from that and come back together to work out either how to make the FA better or better alternatives to the FA.

  69. Better leadership for FA won't solve the problem in long run due to union's concept and principle.
    It seems to me that higher education does not need a union since union cannot abandon those non-productive members in terms of research and teaching. Without a union, it will be more productive. Without a union, it doesn't mean that Admin can do whatever they want, since faculty can help to build up university policies and regulation through various committees and faculty senates.

  70. Anon: 6:14. Where have you been during these lengthy debates? Don't you know that the "various committees and faculty senates" have no power to make the administration accept their resolutions? When I first arrived here some decades ago I heard the then President refer to faculty in an open meeting as "the Carbondale disease." This attitude has now changed. Things have become much worse. Hence the need for a union if only to protect faculty against these repugnant administrators who would fire you within seconds no matter how qualified you are and put any distance ed. teacher in your place.

  71. Typo should be "not changed."

  72. Anon: 8:10PM.

    Your act just likes FA 'terrorist'. Come on terrorist if you want to show your muscle!

  73. I agree with Anon 8.10.

    I've been here at SIUC for 20+ years, and things now are the worse ever. The admin have always been bad, but never as bad as Cheng, and co.

  74. Sounds like the rhetoric is getting out of hand again... "terrorist"? How is it that any of our colleagues are terrorists, exactly? Incendiary name-calling won't get us anywhere.

    As for the administration-bashing, it also feels way out of place. Has she fired a 100 tenured faculty without reason? If not, then how could she be the worst ever? Look. one of the biggest problems with the FA is the default adversarial relationship it has with the administration. For better or for worse, that stance helps create an administration that is polarized against the FA and other unions (particularly around contract time). To be reasonable is to appear weak (think Republicans and Democrats these days). If we faculty want to operate from an adversarial position w/ respect to the administration (and I actually don't think that they do by and large), then no one should be surprised (and thus I think it is unrealistic to complain) when the administration shows some gamesmanship (or as Dave says, 'hardball') when the chips are down and things come to a head (e.g. leading up to the strike). Perhaps some of the delays that Mike has brought up would fall into this category (like it or not).

  75. Let' s not call each other terrorists.

    SIUC desperately needs better leaders. The FA can be a counterweight to bad leadership. But neither it not the FS can get us good leadership. I think most people who are anti-FA realize this place is not being run well. Perhaps we can focus on our common interests.

    Some is the FA leadership really wanted Wendler out. I kept saying to them, you think things can't worse but they can. Now we know this. Poshard really does mean well, but he cannot attract administrative talent to SIUC. Top administrators won't come. The plagiarism issue is minor. That the man used is position on the Board of TRUSTEES to get himself and later his old friend and fellow BOT member high paid high power jobs is a major act of corruption. I really would like to see the IEA & us (FA & FSN) push for legislation to bar BOT members from taking jobs at the university they oversee - until they have been off the BOT for at least 10 years. A few years ago we found out a BOT member was living in Indiana. We got the law changed to prohibit that. So, it can be done. If it could be made retroactive, Glenn is gone. If not maybe such a law would shame him into retiring.

    I suggested the idea awhile ago that maybe the FS sponsor some sort of BOT/faculty retreats. General discussions about what a university is and what it takes to lead one could lay the ground make for better leadership.

    It's an idea. What do people think? Could we pull this off? Would it work? Change won't happen quickly. This will take many years.

  76. Sorry for the typos. I'm tired and using a little netbook. Hate this keyboard.

  77. @ Mike --

    Contract negotating tactics (and a few WTH decisions) aside, I actually don't think that the current upper administration has been a net negative--in terms of what they are trying to achieve and how they are trying to do it. I see a desire to fix some serious (long-time-building) structural problems with SIUC and attempts to address these issues in some ways that make some sense. Position control is one of those things. When I first heard about it I really got the willies... I couldn't help but fear that this huge amount of funds in the form of unspent faculty (and other) lines was being pooled to what unknown nefarious end. But, I've heard the thinking behind it, and now I'm wait-and-see about it (as in, I expect that the colleges/units will see these lines come back to them, distributed in a way that makes some sense). Same for the university college program; I don't know if it will solve anything but the spirit is there, so I'm willing to give it a chance for now (unless/until they start trying to hire faculty outside of the departments to which they should belong... then we have a problem).

    Re: BOT retreats/meetings, yes, that could be a good idea I think... Myself, I don't know a thing about the BOT members or what they actually think, so maybe there's some good that can come from that.

    And as discussed before, I can see the value in laws preventing BOT/administration co-mingling. I wouldn't make it retroactive though (what's done is done). I don't disagree with your assessment of Glen but I think he's doing the best he can (and I think he is most effective in dealing with some of those big non-academic external issues like attempts at pension 'reform'), and to make it retroactive would just seem like mean-sprited score-settling IMO.

  78. Beezer: I am also willing to wait and see on a few things. I think a student services building is long-overdue, for example. When I first heard about the "Woody shuffle" from a student a few years ago, I was outraged. I still am. We needed to change that.

    I would really like to see the BOT step to the plate on all the deferred maintenance on this campus. Faner Hall, where I work, has particularly large problems. I would also like to see a firm commitment to move the books back to the library, no hedging and hawing about no money. If administrators can find the money to fund projects dear to their heart, they can find the money (and the will) it would seem to finish the library.

    And finally we need a better relationship between faculty and administrators and between faculty. I suspect beezer is right in an earlier post that they are at their nadir right now. This will take time. But let's commit to it right now by being reasonable toward each other.

  79. Beezer and Joe,

    I agree about wait and see, and that this will take considerable time. Has anyone gone to these Labor Relations training? There is one on Nov 17 which I cannot attend. In fact, I've attended none of them but am curious what this is about and what others have found by taking advantage of them.


  80. But Cheng did attempt to fire 93 NTT faculty, all of whom were doing a fine job in the university. Finally, since the rhetoric of "terrorism" (like knee-capping in earlier posts, has now turned up I recommend that the poster go to the Murdale record store near Tequila's where /she will find the Bruce Willis DIE HARD DVD collection on sale so fantasies may be further indulged.

  81. The NTT fire themselves now. Next year when the enrollment drops significantly (expected), and the Admin has to keep the promise for the raise, some of NTT will be gone.

    NTT not only throw the FA under the bus, but also throw themselves under the bus.

    How the NTT can throw their brother under the bus and then throw themselves too? Blame Cheng again or blame your own intelligence?


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