The Word - 2008/04/02

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of April 2, 2008

NEGOTIATIONS PREVIEW: BARGAINING BEGINS NEXT WEEK

Bargaining to revise and update full-time faculty’s terms and conditions of employment begins next Thursday, April 10, and is expected to continue all day every Thursday and Friday until July 15, 2008. The current terms, imposed by the College after faculty rejected a tentative agreement but chose not to strike in 2005, will expire June 30.

What can faculty expect in the coming talks?

Your CSEA Bargaining Team – President Darrell Minor (chief negotiating spokesperson), Amy Brubaker, Kevin James, Gil Feiertag, Ingrid Emch, and Steve Abbott (communications/public spokesperson)—has spent many days over the past 3 months reviewing the current terms and developing proposals. Based on your responses to the issues survey Winter Quarter and feedback received in our meeting March 10, the Bargaining Team has refined the initial concepts and developed additional articles for discussion. Besides fundamental salary and health care and minor updates in existing agreements, these include issues related to the Delaware campus, workload, distance learning, and faculty participation in College processes.

Although The Word will provide general information about the status of bargaining, you will not receive detailed updates of negotiations. CSEA and the College’s representatives will respect ground rules that define negotiation processes and limit public discussion of specific aspects of the proposals on the table. If and when we reach a tentative agreement, the specific language of that document will be made available for members’ review and a ratification vote.

Dr. Moeller has provided assurances that information and documents that collective bargaining law requires the College to provide will be made available to CSEA. She also has expressed her hope that bargaining will not involve as much conflict as the 2005 talks produced. However, despite CSEA’s request that negotiations take place on campus in the Center for Workforce Development in order to provide convenience and reduce costs for all parties, College representatives have insisted that bargaining take place at a remote site. Thus, we are hopeful for collegial and productive talks but have not seen the change in attitude that will make this goal more likely. Faculty and administrators alike would prefer to avoid another Work-to-the-Rule situation or the profound impact of the loss of program coordinators and lead instructors for even one quarter.

Nonetheless, for the first time negotiations will include a facilitator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to assist negotiators. Your Bargaining Team is going to the negotiating table confident that the improvements you seek are not unreasonable yet willing to find acceptable compromises to reach a satisfactory agreement. We will keep you informed.

OEA ENDORSES TIM MYERS FOR STRS BOARD

Ballots for a vacant position on the STRS Board will be mailed on April 4 and should arrive within a week. Tim Myers, an active teacher from Elida, Ohio is the only active classroom teacher running in this election. He regularly attends STRS Board meetings, has earned a Certificate of Achievement in Public Plan Policy in both pension benefits and health care through training provided by OEA, and is committed to keeping your pension secure and maintaining access to affordable health care for current and future retirees. OEA has endorsed Tim Myers for the STRS Board. Ballots must be returned by May 5, 2008.

SCIENCE FACULTY CHALLENGE FINANCIAL WASTE

CSEA has received a copy of a letter from the College’s science faculty that apparently has been sent to members of the Board of Trustees. The letter, signed by every full-time faculty member in the Biological and Physical Sciences Department, asks the Board to intervene to address a decision by the President and other administrators to allow plans for the first building at the Delaware campus to proceed without including laboratory design elements that are essential to teaching science courses there.

The letter reads in part: “Even though the science faculty strongly suggested essential changes to the lab settings, those suggestions have been completely ignored…. Despite the fact that the President and the Provost were made aware many months ago that the architectural plans for the science labs are inadequate for the courses that students will need to take, they have chosen to move forward with those plans rather than adjust them in order to accommodate anticipated changes in curriculum. It seems financially irresponsible to build facilities at the Delaware campus that will not serve student needs. Further, this action is certain to require expensive retrofitting of the Delaware campus labs in a time when state funds for capital expansion are limited and facing possible curtailment in the current economic climate.”

Further, the letter said, “What makes this especially frustrating is the unwillingness of administrators to listen to the science faculty and collegially consider their expertise. Instead, administrators are going forward with labs more suited to the 19th century than the 21st century. This attitude of ignoring the views of qualified and experienced professionals by administrators is so common in all decisions that it continues to demoralize the faculty of the college.”

FIRST SPRING SEASON WITH NO CSCC BASEBALL TEAM

For the first spring in twenty years, Columbus State will not field a men’s intercollegiate baseball team. Although CSCC’s baseball team was highly successful and earned numerous appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III World Series, Provost Kay Adkins eliminated the program last year after several baseball coaches requested a meeting with her to discuss the fact that, on an hourly basis, they were getting paid less than minimum wage. A lawsuit against the college filed by several of these coaches is pending. Columbus State is now the largest college (2-year or 4-year) in the state, and one of the largest community colleges in the nation, that does not field a men’s baseball team.

Perhaps it is ironic that George Steinbrenner (owner of the New York Yankees – undoubtedly the most successful major league team in history) was an athletic coach at Aquinas High School, which was located in Aquinas Hall on our campus, in the 1950’s.

PROVOST DECLINES TO DEFINE HR’S ROLE IN CURRICULUM

At this writing, Provost Kay Adkins has not issued a clear statement defining HR’s role in the matter of the Human Resources office overstepping its authority in attempting to dictate curriculum content to faculty. The issue arose when, in a letter reporting the resolution of a student complaint, an HR manager threatened a faculty member in the Career and Technical Division with disciplinary action “up to and including dismissal” if certain material—contained in a textbook used throughout the country—was presented in the classroom.

Department chair Dr. Mokie Steiskal, who as a faculty member gained years of experience with curricular issues, clarified her own support for her faculty in a response letter early last month. A letter to the faculty member from the Provost, however, did not address the action by the HR office.

The failure the college’s chief academic officer to communicate her unequivocal support for faculty’s role in the classroom remains a mystery. There’s no fault in admitting someone made a mistake. When people acknowledge error, it’s easy for others to forget anything happened; when people refuse to acknowledge a mistake, those affected are unlikely to forget not only the original incident but the attitude displayed by not acknowledging it.


The Word is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Darrell Minor, President and President-elect/ x5310
Amy Brubaker, Vice-President / x5068
Susan Moran, Secretary / x5453
Phil MacLean, Treasurer / x5308
Mary Morgan, Parliamentarian-elect / x5768

Steve Abbott, Senior Association Representative / x5096
Gil Feiertag, Senior Association Representative / x5861
Judy Anderson, Association Representative / x5822
Liz Betzel, Association Representative / x5329
Mark Bocija, Association Representative / x5049
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
T.J. Duda, Association Representative / x5309
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Cindy Evans, Association Representative / x2435
Bob Mergel, Association Representative / x5034
Eric Nuebauer, Association Representative / x5698
Dona Reaser, Association Representative / x5475
Gilberto Serrano, Association Representative / x3863
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Kathy Struve, Association Representative / x5330


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