What's Really Happening - 2002/12/06



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of December 6, 2002


Thanks to the scores of faculty who ignored the coldest weather of the season to greet students and visitors to the campus Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with signs and flyers explaining the current situation. You distributed over 5,000 flyers and offered "the rest of the story" regarding the Board's unwillingness to accept a fair settlement to outstanding negotiation issues.

Our work was made easier by the warm reception given by our students and their genuine interest in the issues. We all recognize, as many of them explained, that our issues affect their lives, and this makes it all the more important that both we and they understand what's at stake and why. Sadly, as is the case historically in any care-giving work (education, health care, social work, public safety and other forms of public service), the Board is apparently willing to blackmail faculty with their own compassion. The Board seems to believe that the faculty's caring for their students will keep them from taking action in their own behalf. This is a reckless and risky course with long-term implications for the College regardless of the outcome.


Students are asking. Adjuncts are wondering. Any talk of a strike, however, is premature. We have made clear and continue to say it clearly: The College doesn't want a strike, and we don't want a strike. We want a fair settlement, and in voting to accept the Fact Finder's report, CSEA showed its willingness to compromise. Members overwhelmingly voted November 25-26 to give up 2 personal days, settle for no improvement in benefits, defer action on the concerns of program coordinators and lead instructors, and accept a reduced salary schedule. We believe these concessions demonstrate admirable flexibility, but there are limits. If the chatter on campus November 22 was any indication, the Board's unanimous rejection of a set of recommendations that gave it 90% of the marbles surprised almost everyone.

There are many actions short of striking that faculty can undertake, from refusing work on college-level committees to declining program coordinator and lead instructor work, from working the minimum assignments required to declining additional work on assessment or extra-curricular activities. We expect that several of these will be put into effect if a settlement is not reached in the near future.


The College has filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB). The complaint alleges that, in not notifying the College of the informational picket in advance, CSEA committed a procedural violation of negotiations. In fact, we filed such a notice in September. In addition, we believe that notice of an informational picket is not required by statute.


Several members of the Negotiating Team met with two members of the Board's negotiating team Thursday, December 5, to discuss the numbers that make up the various salary proposals. (We asked for this discussion in June but were refused an opportunity to meet with the College's financial people so that we could clarify the factual basis-actual costs-for each proposal.) We believe that the College's claim that our proposal would exceed the Board's proposal by "more than $7 million" (according to a CSCC press release) is based on a serious miscalculation. This error nearly doubles the estimated cost of CSEA's salary schedule proposal. We presented the Board negotiators with a clear costing-out of the FACT Finder's recommendation, the administration's proposal and our own. Since the union membership accepted the Fact Finder's report and the Board rejected it, we are awaiting a new set of proposals on the issues that originally were submitted to fact finding.

We also need to point out that there is a fiction in the Board's claim that it is offering a "5% raise" for the past year. Let's do the math. Normally we would receive a 5% raise beginning on January 1. The Board proposal offers a 3% raise for 6 months (January-June), and only then adds on the additional 2%. So at year's end the raise for the entire year is actually 4%. Then note that in January 2003, when a new raise would normally go into effect, there would be no raise-until July 1, 2003, when another 3% would be added on. So on top of a 4% raise for 2002, you also sacrifice 6 months worth of salary increase for the first 6 months of 2003. Your 2003 raise adds up to a 1-1/2% raise for calendar year 2003. This is progress? The Board appears to be punishing us for actively trying to improve our situation.


Volunteers for the special December 10 action should meet at Hoggy's in New Albany 30 minutes earlier than previously announced. Dress for the cold.


As we have indicated in previous Updates, the Administration's and the Board's claims that the proposed salary schedule would cost the college $7 million more than the college's proposal is SIMPLY NOT TRUE. We make this statement fully aware that it begs to be challenged by the Board and the President. We suggest that you contact the President and ask her if she stands by this claim. Even other administrators and managers are costing-out the proposals themselves and realizing that this figure is way too high. (This situation now has the potential to be a major PR problem for the College.) The question we have for those faculty who seem to sympathize more with the administration than with your own colleagues is this: How long will you continue to trust an administration that misinforms the Board, the public, and its own trusting employees on important matters such as this? Now is the time to join the CSEA!

What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124

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