FA News: BOT, stopgap, room changes (4/6)

Forgive the frequent messages but events are moving quickly, and I have some updates on announcements from yesterday.

1. BOT declines to authorize SIUC to borrow from SIUE

There was an unexpected development at the BOT meeting today. President Dunn’s plan to have SIUC borrow from SIUE was added late to the agenda. This meant that the board needed unanimous consent to consider the relevant motion. One trustee (Shirley Portwood, an alumna and emerita professor from SIUE) objected, so the motion was pulled. Another trustee (Amy Sholar, another SIUE alumna) said she would be a no vote on the motion. This is bad news for this campus.

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FA News: Announcements (4/5)

Dear colleagues,

Pardon the number of announcements: let us take all this activity as a good sign of positive activity on campus, despite the budgetary gloom.

1. FA Promotion and tenure workshop 4/7

The FA is sponsoring a workshop on Promotion and Tenure this Friday from 12-2 in Communications 1032 (a.k.a. Dean’s Conference Room). If you plan to come, please RSVP to Jyotsna Kapur at jkapur@siu.edu so that we can order enough food for lunch (which will be provided). My apologies for the late reminder. Walk-ins are certainly welcome.

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FA News: 3/10/2017

Dear colleagues,

My apologies for a lengthy and sometimes weighty message as we head into spring break, but we have some important announcements to share, and should comment on recent statements from the administration about the fiscal crisis.

New contract officially ratified on both sides

First of all, I am happy to report that the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement, a.k.a. contract) has now been ratified by both sides and signed by both sides. A final electronic version of the CBA is attached. This new contract is now legally in effect, and will govern any procedures not already well and truly underway under the old contract. Thanks once again to our bargaining team for all their work: Rachel Stocking (chair), Cade Bursell, Anne Fletcher, Judith Green, and David Lightfoot.

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Official TA

Attached here you will find a final draft of the Tentative Agreement agreed to by the FA and the administration in December 2016.

As of this date (12/14), the Tentative Agreement has been approved by the FA membership, but awaits final ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

December 2016 TA between FA and SIU Administration

Contact your representative!

If you are as distressed about the disintegration of our state, contact your representative and tell him/her now!  Below is contact information for the governor, and our local representatives:

Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro, District 115): (618)-684-1100/Springfield (217) 782-0387

http://www.ilga.gov/house/rep.asp?MemberID=2265

Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg, District 118): (618) 253-4189/Springfield (217) 782-5131  

http://www.ilga.gov/house/rep.asp?MemberID=1888

Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville, District 58 Senate): (618) 243-9014/Springfield (217) 782-8137.

http://www.ilga.gov/senate/senator.asp?MemberID=997

Governor Bruce Rauner: Springfield, (217)782-0244

http://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/default.aspx

 

Updated: SIU to repay more than $1.7 million in unpaid furlough

IU Carbondale will pay at least $1.7 million to nearly 1,500 employees who were forced to take unpaid furlough days in 2011.

The move comes on the heels of a legal decision issued Dec. 18 by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, which upheld a previous decision that the university bargained in bad faith with three employee unions in regards to the furlough and must repay the lost wages.

On Wednesday, SIU administrators met with the Board of Trustees’ executive committee, and board chairman Randal Thomas said the committee counseled President Randy Dunn not to appeal the labor board’s decision. The university had until Thursday to file an appeal.

“A lengthy appeal could lead to significant additional costs,” Dunn said in a news release Thursday afternoon. “There are obviously multiple sides and perspectives to any issue, but it makes sense for us to close the page on this difficult period and look forward to the future in partnership with all our faculty and staff.”

Dunn said “it’s too early to say” when employees can expect to receive their reimbursement. They still have to track down all the former employees impacted by the ruling.

The money will come from contingency funds and savings from employee attrition, Dunn said.

Three employee unions — the SIUC Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, the Association of Civil Service Employees and the SIUC Faculty Association — filed the original complaint against the university. All are associated with the Illinois Education Association.

Jim Wall, president of the non-tenure track union, said he’s excited to close this chapter in the union’s history.

“It’s like a ton of bricks has been lifted,” he said. “Everybody seems to be putting that era behind and moving on. It’s good.”

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SIU trustees to decide on court decision that university bargained in bad faith

A standoff between SIU Carbondale administrators and several employee unions remains unresolved, more than three years after a strike officially ended.

The SIU Board of Trustees’ executive committee met Wednesday to decide whether or not to appeal a court decision ordering the university to repay about 1,500 employees nearly $2 million in back wages after administrators in 2011 forced employees to take four furlough days.

John Charles, SIU’s executive director for governmental and public affairs, said the university will issue a statement today, outlining the trustees’ decision.

Up for appeal is a Dec. 18 decision by the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board, which reaffirmed an earlier ruling that the university bargained in bad faith during contract negotiations in 2010 and 2011.

“The overall record clearly indicates that the university went through the motions of bargaining without an open mind or a sincere desire to reach an agreement,” the decision stated. “Instead, it wanted to get to a point where it could declare ‘impasse’ as quickly as possible so that it could impose the terms that it wanted. Although this course of action was easier, it was plainly unlawful.”

Three employee unions – the SIUC Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, the Association of Civil Service Employees and the SIUC Faculty Association – filed the original complaint.

All three are affiliated with Illinois Education Association.

“I think I could speak for the leadership of the union when I say we feel vindicated,” Dr. Rachel Stocking, president of the tenure-track union and a history professor at SIU, said of the labor board’s decision. “It affirms what we’ve been saying all along, which was that they were not bargaining in good faith.”

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Upcoming Event: Talk about labor

The executive director of Jobs with Justice, Sarita Gupta, will be giving a lecture “The State of the American Worker” this Thursday (September 25) at 7:00pm in Ballroom B of the SIU student Center.

FA Victory on Furlough Days

Dear Colleagues,
I am more than pleased to announce that the Illinois Education Association legal team has won an important victory for the Faculty Association and our bargaining unit members (FA members, and non-FA members) who were furloughed for four days in 2011. On July 2, the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board ruled that in 2011 the SIUC Administration in place at that time practiced “bad faith bargaining” in negotiations with the Faculty Association, as well as with the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association (NTTFA) and the Association of Civil Service Employees (ACsE). According to the decision, SIUC violated the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act when they “unlawfully” declared an impasse in negotiations and unilaterally imposed terms that included four unpaid furlough days. The judge in the case, Colleen Harvey, awarded a “make whole” remedy for affected employees: four days’ pay, plus interest. The entire ruling is on-line at http://media.ieanea.net/media/2014/07/SIUC-Impasse-ALJ-RDO-7-10-14.pdf

According to the ruling, in the bargaining sessions leading up to the illegal impasse, the SIUC bargaining teams’ conduct “demonstrated that it lacked an open mind and a sincere desire to reach agreement.” The judge determined that SIUC “pushed the Union to the point of impasse, simply so it could impose its offer on the bargaining unit.” The decision was supported by evidence from the minutes of the SIUC teams’ internal meetings, where a strategy was laid out to “get to impasse quickly” by saying “‘no no no’ so that we have 3-6 bargaining sessions of no movement.” The decision quotes one team member as saying, “we just have to get them to a point where they (the FA) aren’t proposing and they aren’t agreeing to our proposal – [we] need to box them in.” Meanwhile, according to the ruling, the FA, NTTFA, and ACsE teams continued to present proposals in an effort to move negotiations forward.

During the same period, the Administration publicly portrayed the unions as unreasonably blocking bargaining progress and thus causing an impasse. This ruling counters that portrayal decisively. The illegal impasse and imposition of furlough days resulted in a severe deterioration of relations between the unions and the SIUC Administration. As you know, in November, 2011, the Faculty Association went on strike for five days before a settlement was finally reached.

This decision represents a victory not only for the unions that filed the Unfair Labor Practice charge and the employees they represent, but also for the principles and practice of good faith collective bargaining. By continuing their efforts to reach a mutual agreement during the bargaining period, and by challenging the administration’s illegal imposition through three years of legal procedures, the unions have protected all represented employees from the unilateral decisions of our previous Administration. The decision also reaffirms both parties’ legal obligation to approach collective bargaining as a problem-solving process, rather than as a means of manipulation. In the words of the judge’s ruling, “Good faith bargaining presupposes an open mind and a sincere desire to reach an agreement.”(p. 42)

The ruling comes at a time when collective bargaining for a new contract is under way, and also coincides with the SIU community welcoming a new system President, Dr. Randy Dunn, and a new SIUC Chancellor, Dr. Paul Sarvela. The concurrence of these events presents an opportunity for everyone on our campus. As our new administrators review the actions of the previous four years, they can use this decision to learn from the mistakes of the past, and join the Faculty Association in a constructive and respectful approach to collective bargaining in the future. As SIU and other public universities face increasing budgetary restrictions, the IELRB ruling highlights the central role of good-faith bargaining in developing strategies for meeting these challenges.

Many thanks for this victory are due to FA members for their continued support, to the 2011 bargaining team and officers for all the hours of volunteer work they put in, and to the IEA and its legal team for their efforts on behalf of Tenured and Tenure-track Faculty at SIUC.

You’ll be hearing more about the decision in the coming days, and you may have many questions. The Faculty Association will be holding an informational meeting to discuss the details during the first week of classes. Watch your regular mailbox for a postcard invitation with location and time. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of your summer!

Best wishes,
Rachel Stocking
Faculty Association President

SIU unions give university notice of intent to begin contract negotiations

After a Wednesday rally at Morris Library, four of SIU’s unions gave university administrators formal notice of intent to begin contract negotiations with letters delivered to Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng.

The unions — the SIUC Faculty Association, SIU Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, Graduate Assistants United and the Association of Civil Service Employees — are part of the Illinois Education Association and represent more than 3,000 faculty and staff with a June 30 expiration date in their contracts with the university.

“We were fulfilling a contractually-requested process to begin bargaining as part of our timeline,” said George Boulukos, vice president of the SIUC Faculty Association, about Wednesday’s rally. “We requested to begin the process formally.”

Two years and four months have passed since the previous round of negotiations resulted in a six-day strike by the SIUC Faculty Association in November 2011.

The other three unions were able to reach an agreement with university administrators to avoid a strike.

“We want this round of negotiations to be constructive and not drawn out,” said SIUC Faculty Association President Rachel Stocking. “The last round did not go well and ended up with a strike for us.

“We would like (the negotiations) to be mutually respectful and start out with a positive step.”

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