GAU Vote Results

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 457

Graduate Assistants United held their strike authorization vote today. GAU members voted on the question:

Do you authorize the bargaining team to call for a strike on or after October 6th if no significant progress has been made in bargaining?

I’m pleased to report the results of the votes: 54 new members today, 88 percent voter turnout, and 97 percent voted yes.

You can read the message we sent out about this result here on our website.

While the votes are a collective message, you can deliver this message as an individual too:

Ms. Misty Whittington
Executive Secretary of the Board
Office of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees
(618) 536-3357

Rita Cheng: rcheng@siu.edu
SIUC Chancellor
(618) 453-2341

Glenn Poshard: poshard@siu.edu
SIU President
(618) 536-3357

In the News:
Graduate Assistants United approves strike authorization vote [Daily Egyptian]
Third union votes to authroize strike at SIUC [WPSD Local 6]
Grad assistants authorize strike [The Southern]
SIU Graduate Students Approve Strike [WSILTV]

Upcoming Events:
Wednesday October 5, 5pm: Informational Meeting for Students About Striking

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7 thoughts on “GAU Vote Results

  1. Once again, an IEA bargainning unit tries to hide raw numbers regarding those eligibile for membership, actual membership numbers and vote totals. You write about “administration spin” then try to spin your own tale. Kinda disgusting. C’mon…give it up. We want the truth IEA.

  2. I am an FA member and not an official representative of the IEA, but I’ll offer a contribution to Joe’s request for raw numbers:

    The FA stands at about 40% of T/TT faculty and represents probably the largest of the four unions in terms of proportion of their bargaining unit. Many, who may or may not support the union or a strike, choose not to pay dues and join the union. Times are, after all, tough. But the unions are the bargaining representatives for those units until such time as another group presents itself as a viable alternative. Until that time, it is pointless to rant about the raw numbers.

    Even so, consider this:

    Significantly fewer people than any union’s membership were involved in the decision to hire Chancellor Cheng. Still fewer get a vote on the Administration’s policy initiatives on campus. Many accept a “divine right” hierarchy and organizational structure for one side, but then deride the authority of duly appointed and officially recognized unions for the bargaining units. And that is, truly, “disgusting.”

    Or consider how Chancellor Cheng touts the “impressive” turnout of faculty to the Chancellor’s Convocation (130!) but is not “impressed” with the FA members that voted to authorize a strike (just at or over 200!). More fun with numbers!

    I keep hearing rumors that there is a “silent majority” of folks (faculty, GA, or otherwise) who oppose the unions and their bargaining. It is easy to assert that this majority exists in a letter to the editor or on a blog. It takes a bit more effort to organize them into a representative group. That takes time, energy…and resources. You got ’em?

  3. Raw numbers pointless? Puh-leeze. If they’re so pointless, how come the IEA won’t come clean and fess up? The real answer: it will make them look weak. You know it, I know it, the IEA knows it. You just won’t admit it. If the raw numbers were to the FA’s advantage, we’d know all about them. You know that, I know that, the IEA knows that. It goes to the credibilty of the IEA…why should I believe much of anything they say if they can’t be honest enough when it comes to membership and voting.

    As for Mr. Gray’s attempt to lead us off into other, totally unrelated subjects concerning numbers…well, I’m reminded of the Tea Party and their constant tactics of using loopholes to somehow make the incorrect seem correct. Your arguments are dis-ingenious at best, and at worse…well, I’m too polite to go on.

  4. It seems to me that you’ve already reached a conclusion about the weakness of the unions on campus, Joe. And while you make an interesting yet undeveloped comparison of my response to Tea Party rhetoric, you also dodge the key points of my argument: Namely, the unions have representative authority for their bargaining units. Period. If you don’t like it, offer a stronger authority. It is easy to denigrate the unions’ work and membership from the sidelines (would you like the unions to provide long form birth certificates for their members in addition to the voting tallies?); until you offer a viable alternative you are only blowing so much smoke.

    What I fear is that the Administration and, well, folks like you are not going to be satisfied until the unions demonstrate their strength through a strike action. Like most games of “chicken,” this can and likely will have dire consequences for drivers and those watching on the roadside, alike.

  5. Let me put your mind at ease. Yes, the unions have representative authority for their bargaining units. I understand that. And I didn’t say I didn’t like it. I do not denigrate the union’s work or it’s membership. I don’t need, or want, to offer a viable alternative. However, I did ask for numbers – yet you try to change the subject with talking points and rhetoric.. It would appear, sir, that you are are the one dodging the argument. So let me re-state: I maintain that by not coming clean – by not being forthright – by playing games, on membership numbers, voter turnout numbers and yes and no totals, the union’s credibility is at stake. As the IEA continues to report only “percentages,” people wonder about real numbers and, perhaps, what else the IEA is trying to hide. That is my point…nothing else.

  6. Joe, as I pointed out clearly above, I am a member but not an official representative or an office holder in the FA. In my first reply I included numbers…even raw numbers. I share Dave Johnson’s (over at the excellent FA blog, “Deo Volente”) and your belief that the IEA’s coyness around releasing numbers is misplaced. The best estimate I have is that the FA has something north of 250 members, representing about 40% of the T/TT faculty. The Administration makes it hard to know the current number of T/TT faculty on campus — in good times it was close to 700; we believe it is now somewhere between 600 and 650. If 88% of eligible FA members voted and 92% of those voted to strike, that’s about 202 T/TT faculty voting to strike.

    I do not have enough data to calculate for the other unions. While I agree with you that the FA/IEA has nothing to hide on this point, we also know how these numbers are spun by the Administration and anti-union folks to challenge the validity of the unions or a strike vote. As I demonstrated above, I am perfectly willing to justify union authority to bargain and to legally strike with the numbers we have. But if I am skeptical of the IEA’s coyness regarding raw numbers in these votes, I am significantly more wary of those who fixate on such and seem all too ready to spin either the numbers or the unions’ coyness regarding the numbers as a credibility-bash.

    My “talking points” and my rhetoric are my own. If I reply with rhetoric it is because I hear rhetoric to reply to. I don’t think we can have this discussion without rhetoric. But then, I understand rhetoric to be a classic and millennia-old study in the academy and not the popular conception of it as “empty words.”

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