Become Visible


I’m not going to spend too much time discussing the Chancellor’s email from yesterday, especially since Dave Johnson tackles it ably at Deo volente. There’s two things I want to discuss:

1. Congratulations to the SEIU workers who did manage to settle a contract. While the rest of Cheng’s email is questionable, I was actually very pleased that at least one union was able to settle their contract and gain modest raises (which are, if I remember correctly, better than any of the administration proposed raises I’ve seen to the FA, the NTT, and the ACsE units). That’s all we want as well — a good, settled contract. So I really am glad to see one local achieve that.

2. While I’m glad that the Chancellor is finally addressing the labor unrest and seems to have remembered that unions actually exist, this letter was insult added to injury. Not for all the problems Dave points out but because she completely ignores the three other IEA-NEA unions and the issues we have on the table. Perhaps because she doesn’t think she can spin those issues of job security, adequate health care, and having a living wage away? Or maybe she honestly believes that the more she emphasizes the tenured/tenure-track faculty, the more likely our coalition solidarity is to break? Or as obvious as it is she has little respect for the faculty and the FA, she has even less respect for civil service employees, non-tenure track faculty, and graduate assistants? I can only guess the Chancellor’s reasoning (or her staff’s, depending on where this really comes from), but her silence on the issues effecting other unions — or that other unions even exist — is truly off-putting and makes her seem even more out-of-touch with what’s going on than she did before (a real accomplishment in my eyes).

In other pension news, IEA’s Government Relations head, Jim Reed, sat down for an interview yesterday about the pension meetings. Apparently, it’s going slowly but he does say that the votes in the general assembly haven’t changed since the spring session (and we may have gained votes). They do say to contact your legislators as education about pensions, talk to coworkers about getting involved (and talking to legislators), and be ready for the veto session in October.

Upcoming Events:
Friday September 23, 10-2: Informational Tabling in the Student Center
Monday September 26, 10-2: Informational Tabling in the Student Center
Tuesday September 27, 10-2: Informational Tabling in the Student Center
Wednesday September 28: Faculty Association Strike Authorization Vote
Friday September 30: GA United Strike Authorization Vote, Lawson 141, 3-7pm
Wednesday October 5, 5pm: Informational Meeting for Students About Striking


2 thoughts on “Become Visible

  1. Kristi, you’re right that Cheng focussed almost exclusively on the FA, ignoring the other three unions in our coalition (save for noting rumors that had reached her ears about various other votes in the works–as if we all hadn’t made public announcements about our strike authorization votes). I followed suit in my reply by just addressing the FA concerns she raised. But let me say that we in the FA are tremendously strengthened by the presence of the other unions in our coalition, and proud to be supporting you all as much as we can, and proud to receive your support. We may not all end up at the same place at the same time, but the administration’s line with all of us thus far has been pretty uniform (take it or leave it), leaving us with a shared problem. The administration’s tone with the FA has been more respectful (after all, most administrators are tenured faculty too, as Cheng reminded us, and could conceivably find themselves–heaven forbid–as mere tenured faculty again), but in substance they haven’t been any more flexible with us than with the rest of you. I don’t know about you, but I think that the coalition has held together remarkably well so far. Solidarity across status lines–TT, NTT, GAs, ACsES–for me that is one of the real silver linings of this crisis.

    • Dave,

      This wasn’t meant to be a sideswipe at you (or the FA at all). I agree with you; the best thing — what I find most rewarding about the work I’ve been doing — is that we’re working together, really together, for the first time since I started at SIUC. All four of our unions are going to come out stronger because of it.

      It is still very troubling that Cheng won’t address the other unions. I’m still waiting for her to actually get GAU’s acronym right.

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