The Union’s On Your Side

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 399
DAYS UNTIL THE START OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR: 16

If you haven’t heard it already, Chancellor Cheng had her morning conversation with WSIU’s Jennifer Fuller yesterday. Dave Johnson at Deo volente has a good discussion of her comments; he even contrasts her interview to Poshard’s. More and more, though, when I listen to these I start feeling like a walking dollar sign to the administration. They don’t particularly care about me as a student, or the education I might get, but they definitely care about the money I bring in through my tuition and fees, any grants I might earn, and any recognition my research gets.

In local union news, The Southern reports Honeywell union members ratified their contract. I hope those of us who have been working far too long without a contract at SIUC will be next.

One of the big debates at SIUC, particularly during this time of labor unrest, which emerged (or perhaps “resurfaced” would be a better word) this summer is the debate over priorities. Cutting educational expenses, cutting faculty and staff, while at the same time expanding administrative appointments and buildings seems a strange way of doing business for an university, at least for those of us on the ground with the students. But we’re not the only place in the state struggling with this. Roosevelt University, in Chicago is going through the same thing — only the cuts to staff are even worse. [Chicago Sun-Times] Take a look at what’s going on there:

Roosevelt University is reinventing the Chicago skyline with a blue, zig-zag patterned, 32-story “vertical campus” at 425 S. Wabash Ave., opening a pharmacy school on its Schaumburg campus and reinstating men’s athletics and introducing women’s athletics to attract full-time students.

Yet it is cutting costs to close a $7.8-million budget hole created by an unexpectedly sharp drop in the number of part-time students and optimistic budgeting based on three previous years of record-setting freshmen classes.

The university is cutting part-time adjunct faculty; excising $3 million in operating costs; eliminating 235 historically low-enrollment, non-essential class sections out of more than 2,500, and reducing for one year its contribution to full-time staff and faculty’s retirement plans to 4 percent from 12 percent for the first $40,000.

I actually know several members of the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Association (RAFO) and they’re being hit hard but still trying to fight and save as many jobs as they can.

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2 thoughts on “The Union’s On Your Side

  1. You couldn’t be more right that the budget crisis is really a priorities crisis. Both Poshard and Cheng emphasized the 1.15% cut to the state’s appropriations this year (note how each ran the figure out to the second decimal place in order to make the figure seem larger!). Neither noted that that figure amounts to well less than half a percent of SIUC’s total annual budget; neither noted that SIUC’s new marketing campaign will cost roughly twice as much as this budget cut (judging by the DE story of June 28, SIUC will be adding $2.0000 or $3.000000 million to its marketing budget, while Poshard gave a figure of $1.3 million for the state budget cut).

    But hey, I’m likely preaching to the choir over here–unless you get as many union skeptics as I do over at deo volente. Thanks for all your stellar work on this blog. Dave

  2. Pingback: Three Days To Go « SIUC Unions United

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