Life Goes On Even When Bargaining Doesn’t

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 443

Some interesting things happening this week on campus, up to the “disturbances” in the dark, FA meetings, and a site redesign. Those of you not reading this blog through the RSS feeds (or through email) will notice a bit of a new look. Everything is still where it used to be (i.e., no links have changed) but I gussied up the look a bit.

Someplace where things are not happening is bargaining. My local, GAU, had our first bargaining session since August 2 yesterday. It lasted forty minutes where we reviewed open issues (after six weeks off I guess the administration’s team was a little hazy on the few issues we had left). Information we requested at the beginning of June is still not available and they could not give us any firm dates on when it might be. The administration’s team was supposed to provide language following our last meeting and no language appeared at the table. No economic offer was made to us, the way it has been to the other three unions (not that those were anything to get excited about). And we set dates through the end of October.

It’s very clear the administration’s team has no real interest in settling our contracts. Nothing is going to happen at the GAU bargaining table unless we make it happen and the impression I get from bargaining team members in the other three locals is pretty much the same. The administration teams are determined to wait us out; the administration expects us all to fold and go away. I say we should show them they’re wrong.

How do we do that?

A) Join the union: membership numbers — for the other side — are a large metric to determine power and support. In terms of power, they’re right. We are stronger working together. We have more power and our voice on campus carries more weight. Working together, their intimidation tactics will cease to work. When we work together we have nothing to be afraid of.

B) Get involved: already a member? Contact your union leadership and get involved! There’s always a task for someone to do, from putting up fliers to scheduling meetings with departments to talking to your friends and colleagues.

The longer this goes on, the more likely a strike becomes. At last night’s meeting, the FA announced their Department Representative Council has set a date for a strike authorization vote for dues-paying members on Wednesday September 28th. You can also read the FA’s press release about that decision here: SIUCFA Press Release 16 Sep 2011.

A strike authorization is not the same thing as calling for a strike. Essentially it’s a vote that says “Yes, I recognize that bargaining isn’t working, I am ready to move forward and I give my leaders the authority to call for a strike when it becomes necessary.” You’ll probably see more votes exactly like this coming soon.

If you’re curious about a strike, I suggest you browse the strike FAQ or contact your local leadership (some of who will be at the movie on Sunday, including me)!

Upcoming Events:
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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