Bargaining in Good Faith??

This message was sent to faculty today, after an amazing day of action… and after almost 19 months of bargaining.

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to all of you who showed up at the teach-in in front of the chancellor’s office. We had a steady supply of faculty there all day long in support of a call for a contract now!

When the chancellor came by she declined to talk to us or to take any questions, simply darting into the haven of her suite as quickly as possible. When President Killeen came by we were able to explain to him what we were doing and why we were there: After 27 (mostly full-day) negotiating sessions with the chancellor’s negotiating team, little progress has been made towards a contract that will be acceptable to faculty.

The chancellor’s standard message to the press is that the University is bargaining in good faith, it always takes longer than anyone would like to arrive at a first contract, and that bargaining must take place at the table instead of in the press. In response we say:

  • If coming to meetings disorganized and unprepared with materials is bargaining in good faith, the chancellor’s team is bargaining in good faith;
  • If presenting outrageous proposals (e.g., giving administration the right to dictate all standards for faculty performance and evaluation, including reappointment and tenure; determine what will be taught by faculty and the materials and methods to be used; even to unilaterally fire both tenured and untenured faculty members with no right of grievance or bargaining on the matter) that are designed to be objectionable to our negotiating team is bargaining in good faith, the chancellor’s team is bargaining in good faith.
  • If the chancellor–who personally signs the completed contract–refusing to meet with the executive board to discuss our concerns with the negotiations process is bargaining in good faith, the chancellor’s negotiating team is bargaining in good faith.
    If saying she wants a contract by April while her team submits proposals that set negotiations back at least six months is bargaining in good faith, the chancellor’s team is bargaining in good faith.
  • If refusal to come to the table herself is bargaining in good faith, the chancellor’s team is bargaining in good faith.

Our patience is wearing thin with the failure of the chancellor’s team to bargain in good faith and make substantive progress towards a conclusion that we can all live with, which will be a contract that is consistent with long-established processes created and revised through campus dialogue and shared governance. And this grievance against the chancellor is only one among many grievances that we have heard from faculty.

If you haven’t signed a card, it’s time to sign. If you have questions, contact members of the executive board. And come to our social on April 4 at Lake Pointe Grill to help us plan the next steps.

We can’t do this without you. The time to step up is now.

Solidarity,

Kristi Barnwell, Vice President UIS UF/UPI 4100
Sent on behalf of the executive board

Lynn Fisher
Kristi Barnwell
Jay Gilliam
Heather Bailey
Donna Bussell
Deborah Anthony

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