Faculty Associatio​n ratificati​on vote on tentative agreement

Dear Faculty Association Member,

The Departmental Representative Council (DRC) voted unanimously (30-0) on November 17 to recommend that the membership of the FA approve the tentative agreement negotiated by the FA and Board bargaining teams. The tentative agreement goes on to the full membership for ratification.

The full text of the tentative agreement has been published on the bargaining information page of the FA web site.

Other aids for understanding the tentative agreement are also available there and direct links follow this message.

  • An informational meeting on the tentative agreement will be held for the membership of the Faculty Association on Monday, November 28, 2011  from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  , in Engineering A111.

  • Voting on ratification of the tentative agreement will take place on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Sangamon Room at the SIUC Student Center.

Only dues-paying members of the Faculty Association who are currently part of the bargaining unit may vote. Absentee voting is permitted.

There will be a separate ballot on Wednesday, November 30 for members to vote on Delegates/Alternates to the IEA Representative Assembly, Ethnic Minority Delegate/Alternate to the IEA Representative Assembly, Region 2 Vice-Chairperson, and Region 2 Ethnic Minority Representative.

Sincerely,
Randy Hughes

LINKS:

Summary of the tentative agreement

Full text of tentative agreement

Full text of tentative agreement with changes highlighted

Back to work agreement

Bargaining is scheduled to resume today

A services of a federal mediator have now been obtained and bargaining is scheduled to resume at 3:00 p.m. today (Sunday).

Our collective action, along with the support of students, community members, and employees across campus, has brought us to this point.

We need to remain vigilant to make sure that a mutual agreement is obtained through renewed bargaining.

The Faculty Association is holding an informational meeting for faculty at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 6, at the Carbondale Civic Center. This meeting is open to all members of the bargaining unit represented by the Faculty Association.

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the video from FATV at the SIUC Unions United web site

Meeting Tonight, Strike Date Tomorrow

Your FA Bargaining Team has been working around the clock to achieve a tentative agreement.

Specific proposals traded between both sides have so far not been able to bridge the gap on several key issues.

The FA Bargaining Team continues to think outside the box and has presented some new alternatives in the hope of achieving a settlement before the strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, November 3.

You are invited to an 8:00 p.m. meeting tonight (Wednesday) at Strike Headquarters to hear up-to-the minute bargaining reports and information about picketing tomorrow in the event that tentative agreements are not reached with our local unions. Non-members and other people in the community who want to find out how to get involved are welcome. The Strike Headquarters is at 880 West High Street, in the west end of the old Carbondale High School, just off of Oakland Avenue, one block north of Main Street. There is parking in front of the building and a lot north of the building off of Oakland Avenue.

We are preparing for a strike in the event that no tentative agreement is reached by midnight, tonight. To be on strike is to not go to work. You don’t have to stand on the picket line to be on strike, but if you are willing to picket, come to the meeting tonight to get more information. If you are unable to come tonight and haven’t already been signed up in a picket squad, but want to come out to support picketing, you can check in Thursday near the main entrance to the campus on Highway 51 (Illinois Ave and Lincoln Dr) or talk to a picket leader at any picket location on the perimeter of campus.

For more answers to questions about a strike, see the following FAQs:

strike-faqs

be-prepared

faq

Be prepared

Posted on November 1, 2011 by Dave Johnson

Days without a contract:

489

 

8:00 PM Wednesday: General Four Local Solidarity Rally @HQ


Important events

Give us your two cents – on video.

12:30 – 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 1, at the Strike Headquarters*

We’ll be taking video testimonials ­ “I don’t want to strike but I will because…” ­ at the strike headquarters. Show up if you want to contribute.

Picket Training

6:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 1, at the Strike Headquarters*

This training is a must for picket captains, but is open to other interested bargaining unit members.

Four-local general meeting

8:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 2, at the Strike Headquarters*

This meeting will provide up-to-the-minute reports on the progress of bargaining and plans in the event that tentative agreements are not reached by all four locals before Thursday’s strike deadline.

* The Strike Headquarters is in the west end of the old Carbondale High School, 880 West High Street just off of Oakland Avenue, one block north of Main St. Parking is available on High Street and in the lot behind the building.

Bargaining update_10.31

Your Faculty Association Bargaining Team met in multiple bargaining sessions yesterday, October 31, and more sessions are scheduled today. Their report is included below.

In yesterday’s Guest Column in the Daily Egyptian, President Poshard states that the university administration needs to be able to take budgetary actions, but the unions can then file a grievance or an unfair labor practice charge if we disagree with the action. President Poshard’s public statement is essentially in agreement with our latest proposals on layoff and financial exigency which recognize that it is the right of the Board of Trustees to make the declaration of financial exigency. As noted in the team’s report, our interests are in transparency and well-defined criteria for determining financial exigency for which the Board can be held accountable. But while President Poshard appears to endorse these principles in his guest column, the administration bargaining team is still unwilling to agree to this in practice.

The need for well-defined and transparent criteria concerning financial exigency was made very clear in President Poshard’s “Morning Conversation on WSIU yesterday morning. In this interview he made the claim that the administration could have declared financial exigency in the last two years. This gives some insight into administration thinking on the definition of financial exigency, when one considers that SIUC had a $15.8 million surplus for FY 2010, and as President Poshard acknowledged in the interview, our budgets have continued to go up. Not the budget for faculty salaries, though. Due to the hiring freeze on faculty, the expenditure on faculty salaries decreased by $1.8 million from Academic Year 2009-10 to Academic Year 2010-11, not including the additional one million dollar reduction due to furloughs.

Your FA Bargaining Team continues to bargain today and has committed to meet around the clock in an effort to reach a tentative agreement before the Thursday strike deadline.

In solidarity,
Randy Hughes

———-

Bargaining Report
Faculty Association Bargaining Team
October 31, 2011

The Faculty Association team started our bargaining session with the Board team at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Both teams exchanged proposals on:

  • Article 5 (Operating Papers), Article 8 (Workload, Distance Education, and Overload) and Addendum X (related to the credit hour equivalencies).
  • Reduction in Force (layoff for financial exigency)
  • Temporary Wage Adjustments (which covers furloughs and unpaid administrative closures)

In our proposal on Distance Education, we made a number of concessions to make our language on Distance Education more acceptable to the Board team. There was an in-depth discussion regarding overload.  We remained firm in our position that we will not cheapen the time and labor Faculty put into performing overload courses. In our conversation, it became clear that one of the Board’s purposes for overload is to avoid hiring Faculty when there is a need to teach more courses.  Your team made it clear that the quality of education and the research stature of this university requires Faculty to do teaching and research and we explained that we’d rather have more Faculty lines than overload pay.

We also presented the Board team with a proposal on Reduction in Force (RiF). We incorporated numerous concessions from the Board proposal. However, we stand solid on our positions of transparency and accountability.  We restated our prior concession that the Board has the right to declare financial exigency. The major issue is: who holds the Board accountable? The Board’s refusal to resort to arbitration led us to recommend a fact-finding panel. This is no different from what President Poshard said in the DE’s Op-ed piece this morning: “the Administration must have final authority to make definite decisions” and “the union can then file a grievance or an unfair labor charge if they continue to disagree with the actions taken by the administration.”  We agree with President Poshard, and are working toward that objective.

At 9:30 p.m. Monday evening, your team offered the language on Temporary Wage Adjustments (TWA) which follows the same principles as in the Reduction in Force Article: the Board of Trustees has the right to declare the extreme, temporary, non-recurring financial crisis which may lead to Temporary Wage Adjustments.  At the same time a fair process needs to exist for challenging that decision if the Faculty finds it in violation of the standards defined in the Temporary Wage Adjustment Article.

Relative to RiF and TWA, when we offered the inclusion of a panel to review the declarations of the Board of Trustees, the Board team responded that they will not entertain any language that holds the Board accountable to any outside party.  Our response has been: why should the BOT be afraid of any review of their actions? After all, we are all accountable in regard to our actions. To this date, we have no answer from the Board team.

No tentative agreement was signed on Monday.

Bargaining Report

Your FA bargaining team has been working hard to get a fair contract settlement.

This report explains the current status of bargaining.

Faculty Association Bargaining Team
October 29, 2011

As of October 29th, there are six major issues which separate the Faculty Association (FA) and the administration.

1. Tenure and financial exigency (a.k.a. “RIF,” “Reduction in Force”). Our interests are transparency and accountability. We have offered a clear definition of financial exigency as a financial crisis so severe that it threatens the survival of the institution, and therefore may require layoffs of tenured faculty after all possible alternatives have been exhausted (including cuts to those functions that are not in direct support of the university’s academic mission). Transparency requires a set of objective criteria and accountability requires a mechanism for review of the administration’s findings and adherence to those criteria.

We have shown considerable flexibility about how to achieve these goals. Our supposal in the spring would have established a joint faculty-administration commission to declare a financial exigency; we withdrew this proposal when the administration insisted on the prerogative of the Board of Trustees (BOT) to declare a financial exigency. Since the Board’s own policy defined a financial exigency as a long-term crisis, our original proposal included: “a state of bona fide and legitimate financial exigency occurs only when three consecutive state audits demonstrate substantial and recurring financial deficits and a continuing crisis which threaten the survival of SIUC.” But in response to the administration’s interest in securing the ability to declare financial exigency due to a sudden crisis, we included their interest, and now would allow financial exigency also to be declared after a sudden, major, and permanent decline in university revenues. Temporary financial crises are addressed in our proposals on temporary wage reductions.

The administration has thus far agreed to include the words “bona fide.” But its current definition of a financial exigency (following Board policy) remains too vague and circular (it is defined mainly as a financial crisis bad enough that faculty must be fired), and it provides no accountability mechanism whatsoever.

Moreover, the administration still refuses to say that faculty can only be laid off in the event of a bona fide financial exigency. While just cause and program elimination are grounds for terminating Faculty appointments, only financial exigency should justify layoffs.

The Board has stated that the faculty should trust the administration. However, your team has insisted that verification needs to accompany trust. Your team is well aware that a false declaration of financial exigency was used in the past to justify the illegal firing of 104 faculty members. We do not want that to happen again.

2. Furloughs (what we call “temporary wage adjustments,” to cover whatever administrative scheme is devised to cut salaries). Our interests are essentially the same as in the case of layoffs for financial exigency. Furloughs would be justified only by a short-term financial crisis, one less dire than a bona fide financial exigency. But we cannot allow the administration to cut our salaries without transparency and accountability. Otherwise no salary increases we negotiate would be worth the paper a contract is printed on: the administration could promise us a 2% raise, then cut our salaries 4%. To date no real progress has been made on this matter.

3. Workload. There are essentially three interconnected issues here:

• Credit hour/contact hour equivalency

• Overload pay

• Distance education, particularly our faculty’s academic right to teach courses according to the methods they regard as best for student learning.

On the first issue there has been progress. We are near agreement on a process for revision and review of operating paper amendments to address workload issues. To move negotiations forward, your team withdrew a proposal that called for Faculty votes to be the final word on amendments to operating papers not related to credit/contact hour equivalencies, and we accepted the Board’s insistence that the Provost make the final decision. On the crucial issue of credit/contact hour equivalencies, departments will define contact/credit hour equivalencies in their operating papers. In cases of disputes between departments and the administration over the approval of these definitions, our current proposal allows an external panel to resolve the disputes.

Overload pay.  The FA’s position remains that faculty should be paid as much for teaching an overload course as they are paid for teaching a regular course. The administration continues to insist on having the ability to pay faculty “no less than half a month’s salary but up to one month’s salary for each overload assignment.” The BOT team stated that it will accept our proposal on granting faculty the authority to decline distance education courses (on pedagogical grounds) only if we accept this BOT offer on overload pay. Thus while most workers get time and a half for overtime, the administration wants the power to pay faculty half-time.

Distance education. As discussed above, the administration is willing to consider bona fide pedagogical objections to otherwise mandatory assignments of distance education courses, but only in order to gain leverage to pay us half of what we deserve for overloads. Who is concerned only about money here?

4. Salary. The FA’s view is that negotiations over salary cannot really begin until we have an agreement on a furlough process. If the administration can unilaterally cut our salaries as much as it likes, no negotiation on salary figures makes sense. The FA’s proposal remains that salaries should be tied to the overall financial health of the university, defined as an increase in either overall revenues or expenditures. If revenues or expenditures go up, our salaries should go up proportionally. If revenues and expenditures do not increase, neither should our salaries. The Board team will not agree to this idea, perhaps because revenues and expenditures have increased but spending priorities for the Board don’t include Faculty.

5. Sexual harassment procedures. While the Board bargained two years ago a new policy defining what constitutes sexual harassment, they have yet to bargain procedures for how to enforce this policy. Given recent events at SIUC, establishment of a fair and transparent set of procedures is crucial, and long overdue. But in the interest of securing a contract agreement before the strike deadline, the FA has offered to separate the bargaining of this matter, so long as a deadline and resolution process are established to guarantee a timely agreement. Following a procedure successfully used when we negotiated a intellectual property policy in the past, we proposed that the two sides negotiate a set of procedures by July 1; should the two sides prove unable to do so, they would submit to binding arbitration at that date. The Board has rejected this offer.

6. Conflict of interest policy. Here too we propose a similar process to separate the bargaining of a settlement of this complex matter, but with a process that would guarantee timely resolution, i.e., further negotiations but with a set deadline and binding arbitration if that deadline is not met. Again, the Board has rejected this offer.

Your bargaining team continues to press for; uniformity, accountability, and transparency as the principles to follow in the new contract.

We depend on your active and continuous support.

Strike FAQ update

Can SIUC employees be forced to serve as “strikebreakers’?
No, educational employees, even those not represented by a union, have the right to act in concert (i.e., not alone) to legally refuse to perform work in place of employees who are on strike. For more details, please read the attached document final-law-against-strikebreaking or visit: mutual-aid-and-protection

Pension Legislation Update
The Illinois General Assembly has adjourned until November 8 without voting on the pension-cutting bill SB 512. This bill was stopped last spring through the efforts of IEA members and other public employees. The measure could still come up in the second half of the fall veto session. Read the update from IEA, contact your legislators today, and watch for new developments when the legislature reconvenes on November 8

Faculty Association Strike FAQ.  October 6, 2011.

 The questions here, for the most part, deal with issues that are specific to the Faculty Association.

General questions about how a strike works, including questions about insurance and COBRA,

are handled in the Strike FAQ questions on the 4-local Web site

 

Strike Preparations

1. What is the FA doing to prepare for a strike?

The Association has a Strike Mobilization Committee that is training members for strike preparations and logistics. We are also supported by the NEA/IEA local and national level staff who have had experience with strikes.

2. Why does the FA only now, when we are getting ready to strike, ask me to get involved?

The FA is coordinated by elected volunteers. No member of the FA leadership is paid for their Association work, and they do this volunteer work on top of their regular teaching, research, and service workload. During non-bargaining years, the FA can run its operation through these elected officers. Now that a strike action is possible, we are more actively asking members to sacrifice their time and energy for what we to fight for an end to this crisis—a fair contract for all Faculty. We all benefit and all should be asked to sacrifice some time and talent so the burden doesn’t fall on just the core volunteers of the FA.

3. Do I have to give my chair a copy of my syllabus? What about my course materials? Website? Who “owns” that stuff?

In general, such materials are your intellectual property and you should not hand them over to be used by strikebreakers. The imposed terms and 2006-2010 contract both require you to provide a copy of the syllabus to every student in your course, but the intellectual property section of the imposed terms states that the university does not claim ownership of ordinary course materials that you produced with no more than the usual support from the university. In some situations, e.g., for accreditation reasons or because of extra university support for course development, you may need to provide these materials to your chair, but most faculty have already satisfied the requirements of the imposed terms by providing a copy of the syllabus to students. Remove such items from your office, and shut down websites that could aid in teaching your classes.

4. What actions do I need to take to prepare to go on strike?

●     Make sure your union has a way to get in touch with you from off campus — a non-SIU email and off-campus phone number.

●     If you plan to elect COBRA coverage, make sure the university has the correct off-campus mailing address for you. For more on COBRA, see the 4-local COBRA page: http://siucunions.wordpress.com/strike-faqs/cobra-specific-questions/.

●     If you can, set aside some cash to get you through a strike. Check with creditors for rules on delaying payments due to loss of income. We have loans for members, but they are not available immediately. (More details about strike loans are available at http://siucunions.wordpress.com/strike-faqs/).

●     Prepare an “out of the office” message on your SIU email, perhaps with an alternate way to contact you.

●     Plan to remove from your office anything that belongs to you that you will need during a strike and to remove anything that belongs to you that you don’t want administrators using while you are on strike (e.g. course materials).

●     Be prepared to shut down any website that could provide assistance to someone teaching your class.

 

During a strike

5. What will happen if we strike? Will we not show up for class?

During a strike, striking members will not perform their usual duties, teaching, service, office hours, and university paid research. That means you do not teach classes while on strike.

6. What happens if my GAs don’t go on strike?

Graduate assistants need only continue to do the duties assigned by the terms of their appointment and nothing more. They cannot be required to extend their duties to cover for your absence, and you may advise them not to do so (not to be strikebreakers) should there be a strike.

7. What will happen if the strike is in the late-October to early-November window for the state ethics training?

Striking is a legal activity, so discipline for not completing the test is not an option. Compliance issues can be addressed in the back-to-work agreement should this become an issue during a strike.

8. Is there any cut in pay if I’m on sabbatical during a strike? How does the administration tell if I’m on strike, other than taking attendance on the picket line?

The administration cannot take attendance at the picket line, as that would likely be considered illegal surveillance. If faculty on sabbatical want to make sure the university administration knows that they are on strike, they can contact their chairs to inform the administration that they are not doing the research work approved for their sabbaticals because they are on strike.

 

9. I just returned from sabbatical. Will I have to return my sabbatical pay if I strike?

Assuming you work the university for a year after the sabbatical (time before the strike + time after the strike), you will have fulfilled the university’s requirement to work after the sabbatical and should not have to return the pay.

Questions for non-members

10. I’m in the Bargaining Unit but not a dues-paying FA member, can I strike? Will the IEA protect me if I do strike?

Yes and yes.  Everyone represented by the FA, including nonmembers, can strike. IEA legal assistance and similar protections are available to all represented faculty, although interest-free strike loans only are available to members. (More details about strike loans are available at http://siucunions.wordpress.com/strike-faqs/). To be fully protected, we advise all bargaining unit members to join the FA as soon as possible.

11. I’m in the FA Bargaining Unit, but I won’t go on strike. Can the administration force me to teach a class for another represented Faculty member who is on strike? If the GAs, ACsEs, or the NTTs strike, can the administration force me to do their work?

As a member of the Bargaining Unit, you are a protected educational employee. Protected educational employees can act in “mutual aid and protection” with other unionized educational employees. One aspect of “mutual aid and protection” is to not do more than your regular duty. Covering for striking employees is not a regular duty and not part of your workload assignment given last spring, so it is not a required part of your job.

12. I’m a department chair, so I’m not in the Faculty Association’s Bargaining Unit. Can the administration force me to teach a class for a represented Faculty member who is on strike? If the GAs, ACsE, the NTTs strike, can the administration force me to do their work?

Chairs, while not in a bargaining unit covered by a union contract, nevertheless are protected educational employees. Chairs can act in “mutual aid and protection” with unionized employees. Chair acting in mutual aid and protection of those on strike can do anything to support the FA so long as they do not refuse to do their regular duties.

13. I’m not in the Bargaining Unit of any union on strike, but I’m sympathetic. What can I do to help?

Let the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees know that you support the unions. The more vocal support all unions get, the more likely it is that the administration will come to a mutually agreeable understanding with the unions’ bargaining teams. Also let your friends, colleagues, and neighbors know how you feel. Be familiar with our issues and defend us. Walk the picket line on with us on your free time, during lunch, or before and after work. Solidarity can take as many forms as your creativity allows.

Strikebreakers

 

See also questions 11 and 12 above.

 

14. Can the administration hire people to teach my class? Can they tell colleagues who don’t strike to teach my class? Can my chair teach it?

The administration will attempt to make it seem as if everything is business as usual during a strike, and may well attempt to hire strikebreakers. The administration can try to pretend that a temporary worker, an administrator who hasn’t taught your class in years, or an overworked colleague or chair is not a pale substitute for what you would do, but that doesn’t make it so.

15. Will we have to accept work done by strikebreakers?

According to the university’s Code of Ethics for Faculty, faculty are required to, “make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that the evaluation of students reflects their true merit.” It is your responsibility to confirm that the grades you submit for a class accurately reflect students’ performance in the class. It would be your responsibility to determine whether work done in your absence is adequate for you to sign off on the grades in good conscience. Details of such matters may be covered in a back to work agreement negotiated during a strike.

 

After a Strike

16. What will happen when we come back to work?

As much as possible, we will return to work as usual and do the same work we’d done before the strike. The details of things like makeup work and lost pay would be handled in a back-to-work agreement as part of the new contract.

17. I’m an assistant professor. What reassurance can you give me that I won’t be punished by the administration or by anti-union colleagues for going on strike? How can I know I won’t be targeted for dismissal because I’m a member?

Retribution against striking workers is illegal. The FA/IEA will represent you if you believe that you are being punished for going on strike.

18. If we get it resolved within the same month, is there a blip in the paycheck (down in November by the # of days on strike)? Or are we paid back later, such as December, if our back-to-work agreement extends the semester or involves make-up days of some sort?

These issues depend on the dates and length of the strike, terms of the back to work agreement, and the ability of the payroll office to process paychecks.

 

19. How will a strike affect my retirement contribution and benefits? Can I make up payments into my retirement account (as was possible for furlough days)? How will a strike affect my retirement coming up soon?

It depends on the back to work agreement covering lost wages due to strike – if there are make-up days or work to restore the pay lost due to strike there is no negative effect. If there is lost pay that is not restored, you cannot make up payments to SURS. For information on how lost pay would affect your retirement, consult an SURS counselor, as many variables come into play.

20. What if my union settles before the other three? How will we support their strike?

Illinois education labor law does not permit us to participate in sympathy strikes, but we still can support the other unions in other ways. We can write the press and the Board of Trustees to encourage the administration to settle with ALL of the unions. We can refuse to do strikers’ work when pressured by the administration. We can join them on the picket line during our off-work hours.