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 (

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Emeritus Faculty Organization to Fight for Freedom

Sent from the witty microbiologist David Clarke, professor emeritus. Click and then hit F11 to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sue Your Law School! They Gave You the Degree

This story ought to be a wake up call for Illinois law schools, among others. Suing based on "deceptive marketing" and the rest is not just for University of Phoenix any longer.

Just hope your university doesn't get this guy as judge. . .

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pension Cutters: They are Back!

Ever get the feeling that generational warfare is upon us? Too bad the young people protesting "Wall Street" are not taking time to protest the "screwing" of their generation (heck, mine too) by decades of pay-go redistribution.

But, hey, the Baby Boomers gave us many great dead rock stars who never collected Social Security or pensions: Thank you, Jimi, Janis, et al. 

FYI: Decertification and Local Only Teacher Unions

There is now a move on campus to decertify the FA. See the message issued by "Faculty for Sensible Negotiations" (after the critical commentary by FA leader Dave Johnson)

In his provocative book Teacher Unions, former union organizer Myron Lieberman argued that the NEA/AFT organizations had grown out of touch with members and required expensive bundled membership (national/state/local). See his section on "Local Only Teacher Unions" (LOTUs) near the end of his book.

To get information up quickly, here are some links to places that have had LOTUs, sometimes after a decertification. I am not (presently) taking sides on the issue but post the following as FYI:

Here is an article advocating more options for teachers (skip to pp. 28 onward). It notes that most LOTUs have been in Ohio and Indiana but see below for more. . . . 

Interesting labor journal "special issue" on what happens during faculty strike:

especially  -- a strike that "nearly killed the university" and resulted in the former union militant working to decertify the union.

Of course, most college faculty have no unions (poor, pitiful souls!) and the teacher unions are concentrated in the K-12 sector. See below:

Washington State:

Southern Illinois:  teacher union decertifies and creates LOTU:

Detroit and Colorado:
Kansas break away from NEA:

Don't forget PATCO! Some may see this as the "last stand of unionism" but sometimes you lose. Ask PATCO.