Monday, October 31, 2011

FSN Petition Drive: Confidentiality of "Cards and Petitions"

Love or hate the Faculty for Sensible Negotiations (FSN), their card drive has apparently begun in earnest. Below you will find the message from their Executive Committee. Meantime, I did some fact checking about the confidentiality of such cards.

The general Illinois Labor Relations Board states:
Q. What is a showing of interest?

A. A showing of interest is evidence 1) in the case of a representation petition or intervention petition, that an employee desires to represented by a particular labor organization or 2) in the case of a decertification petition, that an employee no longer wishes to be represented by the labor organization which is the current exclusive bargaining representative. Such evidence may consist of authorization cards or petitions that are signed, dated and clearly state the employee’s intent. The cards and petitions are valid for 12 months following the date of the employee signatures. The Board maintains the confidentiality of the cards and petitions submitted to support the showing of interest. (Section 1210.80 of the Rules). [BOLD ADDED FOR EMPHASIS]

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board is silent on the issue but does say the certification by one or more unions must be by "secret" ballot and have the "no union" choice (two rival unions may also vie to represent faculty).

If the FA has contrary evidence, I'm sure they will let this blogger know.

FSN needs 30% of faculty signed to have a new election as described below. Seems like a high hurdle but who knows? In general, while I am a FA member, I do believe all so-called "democratic organizations" ought to face a vote of confidence every set number of years. The law doesn't mandate such votes but there is nothing to stop those -- like the FSN -- for seeing whether the faculty of 2011 agree with the faculty of 1996 (the ones who originally got representation rights via union election). 

Without further ado, here is the FSN message:


Attached to this email is asignature card associated with the Faculty for Sensible Negotiations’ (FSN) effort to initiate an Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) ballot to determine whether tenured and tenure (T/TT) track faculty at SIUC wish to continue to be represented by the Faculty Association (FA) as our exclusive collective bargaining agent.  An identical signature card also will be placed in your campus mailbox.   Once signatures have been collected from 30% or more of T/TT faculty, the cards will be forwarded to the IELRB to bring forth a formal a vote on replacement of the Faculty Association with the SIU Representative Faculty Committee (seeattached white paper for a conceptual outline), retention of the Faculty Association, or decertification of the FA with no replacement.  We would prefer to have cards returned by Friday, 4 November but will gladly accept cards after that date.

The university administration cannot support this action in any way.  Do not use university resources (i.e., ink and paper) to print these cards.  Once signed, return your card to any individual listed on the signature card by placing it in their campus mailbox or hand delivery to the listed office address.  Please contact a listed FSN representative if you are concerned about retribution for supporting this process or desire an alternative method of returning the card. Signed cards will be delivered to the IELRB for validation.  The FSN will not publicly disclose the identities of those who sign and return the cards. 

Your signature on these cards only indicates your interest in providing T/TT faculty an opportunity to vote on attaining alternative representation.  Signing this card does not preclude you from voting to retain the FA or for no representation by a collective bargaining agent in the subsequent IELRB ballot provided signature of at least 30% of T/TT faculty sign and return the attached card.

Faculty for Sensible Negotiations

Executive Committee: John Groninger (, Karl Williard (, Jason Greene (, Kim Asner-Self (, Justin Schoof (, Ed Benyas (, Sara Baer (, Matt Mccarroll (, Bruce Devantier (, Maryon King (, John Voges (, Mike Eichholz (


paranoid said...

As educational employees, our laws rules aren't exactly the same as Illinois Labor Relations Board law. We get our own special laws. See the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board for our rules.

Doesn't that make you feel special?

paranoid said...

You mentioned IELRB, but said that it was silent. There's something buried in their rules about six months for a showing of interest. Because the FSN is seeking alternative representation, this shorter window may apply to them.

i-History said...

Thanks, paranoid. I did link the IELRB act in a hyperlink. The ONLY issue I raised in this blog is what does the law say on CONFIDENTIALITY of said petition cards. The IELRB says a lot about many things (including the windows, as you note) but I'm not going beyond the confidentiality issue because people kept asking about it. And also about how petition cards were treated to CERTIFY the union. After all, a lot of folks weren't here back in 1996. Heck, Google was a glimmer in the eye. . . LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey, can this thing be legal? Aren't they trying to replace a union with a non-union? I can see why someone might want to chuck the FA, but the Faculty Senate--whose operating paper is subject to administration approval--can't very well act as a union, can it? Don't we have to decide whether we want a union or not--an outfit that can strike, which is completely independent from the employer and supported by employee dues, rather than being represented by a body supported by that employer? Surely what they should be proposing is a straight decertification vote followed by (or coordinated with) a campaign to beef up the powers of the faculty senate? And if we chuck the FA, we don't need to follow all the IELRB rules and regs any more (nor does the administration), and we can try the sorts of shared governance techniques the FSN advise. As it stands, though, this proposal seems utterly confused. Hey, Bean, inquiring minds want to know!

i-History said...

I think this would help:

I don't think the IELRB allows deauthorization (as the above notes and they have every incentive to wish that Illinois DID have deauthorization). So FSN has to take the union, rival union, or no union route.