Real Value

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 442

We’re slowly creeping up on 450 days without a contract. In private sector union, I’m pretty sure it never would have gone this far. Many of the recent public sector strikes I’ve been linking to and reading about started within a few months of a contract expiring — not more than a year later. Especially since many of those strikes are about similar things: job security, health care, the future of tenure. We have a real fight on our hands at SIUC to keep our unions and our voice in the university. If you want a real vote in the future of SIUC, join the union. If you want to have control over your workplace, join the union. If you are a different stakeholder — a student, or a parent, or a member of the community — get informed about the issues and make your own decisions. Form your own coalitions and interest groups. You should have a say in what’s going on; it’s your education!

And the latest trend in higher education news says there’s some things all of us stakeholders — employees, students, parents, the community — should be concerned about:

Higher Education Price Index Climbs to 2.3%, as Utility Costs Rise [Chronicle of Higher Education]
The Chronicle reports that the amount higher education institutions spend shot up this year, particularly because of utility, supply and material costs. More money going out means that institutions are cutting budgets and raising tuition…

As colleges slash budgets, who’s taking the hit? [Belleville News Democrat, from the AP]
The report I linked to yesterday showed that administration seems to be cutting administration but the question is — are the cuts enough?

Questions About Higher Education’s Value Go Viral on YouTube [Wired Chronicle]
Of course, all the funding problems higher education has had recently have resparked the debate about the value of higher education. And now it’s on Youtube. My personal opinion is that we’re all better off with an educated, informed populace. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some reforms. Reforms are not necessarily bad things — they just need to be made with a real spirit of cooperation and a voice/vote from all stakeholders.

The Disruption Is Here [Inside Higher Ed]
I am personally open to reforms; unfortunately, I don’t really have suggestions on what those reforms should be. This essay gives a few, from the business perspective.

Speaking of reforms, after getting a few questions about performance funding, I emailed our IEA higher ed lobbyist. She said she’ll have an update after the next committee meeting at the end of September. I’ll pass on any information I get then!

Upcoming Events:
A Meeting of the Faculty Association Membership has been scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 2011 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. in Lawson 171. The purpose of the Membership Meeting is to provide the latest information on bargaining, what is at stake in negotiations, the strike alternative, and strike readiness. Proposals that have been presented at the bargaining table and other information can be found now at the FA’s bargaining information site: http://siucfa.wordpress.com/bargaining-information/. More information about bargaining and strike actions will be sent over the next couple of days.

Struggles in Steel: The Fight for Equal Opportunity, over 70 African-American steel workers speak about their struggles for fair treatment during both their 125-year industry as well as after shutdown
A part of the labor film series sponsored by the SIUC Labor Coalition
Sunday September 18, 2pm
Admission is free and family is welcome!

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