DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 485
As regular readers noticed, I did get some help on the blog! You can expect new voices from now on. And, as we get closer to the strike date, more frequent communications. I usually tried to post once a day — now you may be seeing three or four posts a day as we get more information.
We’re having the open house tonight, which will include the most up-to-date information from bargaining. I know GAU is bargaining until 4pm in the afternoon — right before the open house — so the information won’t get any more up-to-date than that. The map to the strike headquarters is here and the open house is from 4:30-6:30, with the brief bargaining updates at 5pm.
None of us want to go on strike. We’d rather be in our classrooms or our offices doing the real work of the university — making sure teaching and research is happening. We’ve been pushed to this point by an administration that seems unwilling to move on anything — even the “minor” issues which have nothing to do with money and everything to do with making employee lives easier. This is not the university climate I remember from when I started here in 2007 and that really disheartens me. I decided to stay at SIUC for my PhD instead of going somewhere else because I liked the institution so much. I liked the people in my department, I enjoyed the education I was receiving, I really liked teaching undergraduates or doing research as part of my assistantship, and it felt like everyone I knew was happy here.
That’s changed. I’ve seen the strain the changes at the university have put on the faculty and staff and other graduate assistants/students in my department. I’ve seen the hardship the labor situation has put on everyone.
But on the other hand, I’ve never seen so much activism on campus as I have this year. People are upset and agitated — and willing to do something about it. Despite the strike countdown, despite the morale problem, despite how hard it’s been, that upsurge in activism is reason to hope.