FATV and Meeting Reminder

SIUC Faculty Association Strike – Day 2 from Faculty Association on Vimeo.

I received this fantastic video last night. It really cuts through the issues and provides some nice perspectives from people on the line. Thanks to the hard work of the “FATV” group (whose names I will add to this post after I doublecheck all crediting) on getting this completed.

For all faculty, don’t forget there’s a meeting open to the entire bargaining unit TONIGHT at 5pm at the Carbondale Civic Center.

I’m also adding a few more letters of support for the FA and their fight for fairness later today (when I get to a computer with less email formatting issues), including a letter from the National Education Association’s President Dennis Van Roekel. The support for the faculty is there. This is a hard but winnable fight — the administration’s willingness to finally return to bargaining is a key sign of that. Keep the pressure up until the faculty are able to do what they really want to be doing: returning to work with a fair tentative agreement!


Designated hitter number 2 says did the Cards win? I don’t know I’ve been bargaining

This post is from AJ Stoner, president of the NTT FA. I was on the bargaining team and then was elected president, so I am juggling many roles. Tonight (or, this morning) I am keeping a promise to Kristi.

Here’s some of today’s Coalition news as reported to me.

The Coalition is hosting an Open House at the Strike Headquarters, located in the old Carbondale High School, Friday from 4:30-7.

Looking for Volunteers:

  • Facilities management needs one or two folks to help clean up a couple rooms at the Strike HQ. Contact your local facilities committee member or Dave at fada169(at)yahoo(dot)com.
  • We have several volunteers already and still need several more to become Squad Leaders. Squad Leaders can attend either of two one-hour training sessions at the Strike HQ, Saturday at 1 and Tuesday at 6 p.m. Contact George georgerbricker(at)yahoo(dot)com if you can help.
  • There also are some “low profile opportunities” for volunteers who consider themselves more vulnerable for whatever reason. Contact your local president for more information.

Upcoming events

Oh and I almost forgot, a little red bird told me that the World Series was rained out.

November 3


As most of you probably know, the FA’s Department Rep Council voted to set the strike date on 12:01am November 3rd. Today, the ACsE executive committee voted to set their strike date as November 3rd as well. I’ll link up their official announcement when I have it. The NTT House of Delegates meets tonight (and I’ll post info from their meeting later tonight). GAU is having an open meeting on Monday about our strike date.

This is happening. I feel confident in saying that none of us in union leadership wanted bargaining to come to this point. That’s part of the reason this has gone on so long – we wanted to exhaust every option, wait for the economy to turn around, for the state to make it’s payments, or just for the university to find a pot of gold buried under a tree next to Anthony Hall. None of those things have happened. So now we need to take the next step – setting the date of a strike to get us the fair contract we deserve.

As always, if you haven’t let these folks know how you feel, give them a call or send them an email:

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

Upcoming Events:
Monday October 24, 6-7pm, Student Center Ballroom C: GAU Open Meeting for a Bargaining Update and Setting a Strike Date

Students Eager to be Heard


Not surprisingly, students at SIUC are eager to have a voice in the ongoing labor disputes.  While both the Administration and all four unions have tried not to involve students directly in these negotiations, these are clearly issues that impact and therefore concern students.  Below is a statement from a group of students organizing a rally to show their feelings about the operation of SIUC generally and the ongoing labor disputes specifically.

Let’s be perfectly clear, though: this is a student effort.  It is perhaps welcomed by each union, possibly supported by them, but not instigated by them.

The contents of the open letter are included below, but I also wanted to share the layout of the original flyer.  The creative energy and brainpower as well as the social engagement of our students are qualities to be cultivated and praised.  What a missed opportunity it was not to involve these kinds of students more directly in, for example, the re-branding efforts of the university.  There is a hunger at all levels of this university to be heard, to be respected, and to be an important part of determining who we are and how we do things.  Where our leaders have failed to hear their various employees, let us hope they hear the students.


Pro-union students are not pawns: An open letter to the SIU community

In multiple e-mails sent to students, student workers and graduate students on October 7, Chancellor Rita Cheng repeated two important falsehoods (among many other half-truths):

1)   Pro-union students are essentially being used as pawns by faculty and other campus workers.

2)   Students are not (and should not be) involved in the labor situation at SIUC.

By calling us pawns, Cheng has insulted every student at SIUC by asserting that we do not have the ability to think for ourselves, make our own decisions, and on our own come to the conclusion that campus unions deserve our support.

What Rita Cheng seems unable to understand is that education is not merely a commodity and students are not merely consumers.

By supporting the instructors and campus workers we are supporting our own personal interests—to insure that the quality of education at SIU is not undermined.

Many of us come from working-class families and know that many of the rights and resources we have enjoyed came from people organizing and defending unions.

We have not been threatened or coerced in any way by our instructors—contrary to the Chancellor’s repeated assertions—however the tone of Rita Cheng’s almost daily e-mails seem increasingly threatening.

As a group of students we came together independently to counter administration propaganda and organize solidarity with our instructors and campus workers. We copied and handed out factsheets and have called for a student demonstration. We did this of our own accord—regardless of what the Chancellor might say.

It is not the unions that have potentially forced us to choose between “participating in a strike” and our “continuing work/education,” it is the Chancellor’s hard-line position.

Her commitment to bring in scabs to teach courses in the event of a strike shows the contempt she has for both our teachers and for the quality of our education.

Cheng’s pleas of poverty are belied by official university reports that show SIU had surplus revenue in both FY 2009 and FY 2010.

All we can conclude is that our Chancellor sees our university as first and foremost a matter of profit mongering.

It is, in no small part, up to us as students to take a stand against the administration’s attempt to remake SIU into a for-profit corporate entity.

Join us on Wednesday, October 12 at 4:30pm outside Anthony Hall to peacefully protest the administration’s attack on our teachers, our fellow students, on campus workers, and on the quality and value of our education.

In Solidarity,

SIU Students Against University Cuts


And of course, if you can’t be there but you want your voice to be heard, you can always contact these folks:

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

Chancellor’s Address

On Friday, Chanceller Cheng had another “town hall” meeting with the campus. She has promised to update her website with the speech and slideshow she gave. This post will be updated with the links to both when they appear.

You can find a video of the town hall on the Southern’s website here. Some highlights, as noted by Dave Johnson at Deo volente include:

17:25 The ostrich slide, which gets lots of laughs. The Chancellor thereafter quickly refutes some of the heresies of the unions.

25:00 My own splendid question and the Chancellor’s response.

43:09 Rachel Stocking’s question about IBB and union busting.

The “ostrich slide” noted is a picture of an ostrich with a head the sand; the implication is that the unions — or anyone who doesn’t agree with her — is the ostrich.

All four unions are trying to bargain a good, fair contract. This will ultimately benefit the university — quality employees are what keep universities running. Civil service employees, graduate assistants, and faculty are all the face of the university for our students. In our own ways we are the first and last points of contact for every student that comes through SIUC. A excellent educational experience for those students requires quality faculty, staff and graduate assistants. The things we are trying to bargain — fair wages, job security, cooperative and supportive working conditions — will help SIUC recruit and retain high quality employees.

These are not the actions of people being ostriches. These are the actions of employees who want to build a better SIUC, both for today and tomorrow.

Save the Date!

The Association of Civil Service Employees, the Faculty Association, Graduate Assistants United, and the Non-Tenure Track Faculty will be hosting a meeting together on Monday May 2nd with information on bargaining on campus. Be there to get the most up-to-date information on what’s going on.

WHEN: Monday May 2nd, 4:45pm-6:15pm
WHERE: Lawson Hall 141

Be there with any questions and concerns you have; we’ll be ready to answer them. Make your voice heard!