FA News (12/27/2017): A9 grievances

Dear colleagues,
 
My apologies for intruding over the break, but I promised an update on grievances regarding Article 9 and can now bring you up to speed. 
 
On Friday, December 22, the Faculty Association filed grievances with the administration regarding the chancellor’s restructuring proposals. 
 
In our view the administration has violated Article 9 in three respects. 
1. The administration failed to involve Faculty in each of the affected units in the development of proposals (I here use the convention in which the capitalized ‘Faculty’ refers to faculty represented by the FA–tenure-track and tenured faculty outside of law and medicine);
 
2. The proposals distributed to Faculty on November 13 failed to meet the contractual requirements for proposals, as they did not address the specific circumstances of each proposed school; 
 
3. The administration failed, until December 20, to identify the appropriate administrator to oversee the proposal distribution and review process. 
The remedy sought is, translated to academic terms, a “revise and resubmit.” We are seeking that the chancellor go back to the drawing board, work together with affected Faculty (item 1), produce proposals that make a genuine effort to address the specific circumstances of individual schools (item 2), and clearly identify the appropriate administrator (item 3) to ensure orderly review of the proposals. 
 
We have filed both a grievance on behalf of the FA and separate grievances for those proposed schools where affected Faculty came forward as grievants. The FA grievance covers items 2 and 3 above, where the FA has standing, as we are involved in the distribution of proposals, and it applies to all of the proposed new schools. The school-level grievances include all three items, and in some cases include additional violations relevant to individual school proposals. Specific grievances were filed on behalf of Faculty in the following proposed schools:
 
Accountancy and Finance
Architecture, Art, and Design
Computer and Physical Sciences
Homeland Security
Humanities
Education
Engineering
Human Services
Marketing and Management
Media and Performing Arts
Social Sciences and Multicultural Studies
Transportation and Applied Technology
 
The violations are not trivial technicalities. In the absence of specific evidence and argument (item 2 above), neither Faculty nor the FA are able to produce an informed response to the proposals. This flaw is connected to item 1 above, as consultation with Faculty in the proposed schools would be needed to produce informed proposals. Finally, while the administration has now identified Associate Provost DiLalla as the appropriate administrator (2), in their view, to oversee the proposal review process for all of the proposed schools, this move came only 37 days after distribution of the proposals, after what amounts to the first half of the 90 day proposal review process (given the time lost over break) was conducted in a confusing and chaotic manner. 
 
These grievances will be resolved following the procedure in Article 6 of the CBA. We will start with an informal meeting, and if that fails to resolve matters, the grievance will be ruled on by the chancellor or his designee. If the FA is not satisfied with this ruling, we have the right to refer the grievance to an independent arbitrator, whose ruling would be final. 
 
The FA is filing these grievances on behalf of the FA and Faculty grievants both to protect the contract we bargained with the administration and to preserve Faculty’s role in the program change process. The root cause for this dispute between the FA and administration lies with the chancellor’s desire to push through massive, campus-wide changes within an unrealistic time frame, and without adequate advance work to ensure the process followed contractual requirements. If the administration wishes to ensure the most prompt consideration for restructuring proposals that is allowed for by the contract, it will work with the FA to resolve these grievances, and with Faculty in each of the proposed schools to produce proposals that meet the contractual requirements and provide an adequate basis for informed deliberation. 
 
For their work on these grievances, I would like to thank our grievance committee chair Randy Hughes and grievance committee member Anne Fletcher, who were supported by our IEA Uniserv Director Bret Seferian and IEA intern (and SIUC emeritus) Aldo Migone. They worked hard to complete these grievances when most of us had already started on winter break. 
 
I would also like to thank Rachel Stocking, who has just retired from SIUC, for her years of service to the FA. Rachel has served the FA since its beginning, in a variety of capacities, including as FA President and chair of our bargaining team. In that latter role, Rachel was more responsible than anyone for bargaining the improvements to Article 9 that have made that article a more robust means of protecting Faculty’s role in shaping program changes. We have all benefited tremendously from Rachel’s leadership, insight, and commitment to union principles. 
 
Let me close by saying that it gives me no joy to end the year by announcing grievances. But it is my hope that these grievances, together with the response by the university community to the restructuring plan, will lead Chancellor Montemagno to take stock over break and reconsider how best to move forward. We in the FA recognize that change is needed at SIUC, but it is vital that we pursue change through a process that results in informed decisions that gain the widest possible support. That was the intent of both parties in negotiating Article 9, and that is why we have filed these grievances.  
 
In solidarity,
 
Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA

 

About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics and currently (fall 2016) President of the SIUC Faculty Association.

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