What's Really Happening - 2003/02/17



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of February 17, 2003


A negotiating session between CSEA and Board negotiators February 14 produced constructive discussions. We will take up a range of issues this Friday, February 21, as part of mediation involving a mutually agreed-upon mediator from the State Employment Relations Board.


Faculty in the three largest Arts and Sciences departments have informed CSEA that their lead instructors have notified chairs that faculty in those departments will not perform lead instructor functions effective Spring Quarter, pending agreement on a union contract.

Faculty in the Biological and Physical Sciences Department and the Communications Skills Department unanimously agreed to refuse to continue these voluntary, quasi-managerial roles. Faculty in the Mathematics Department recently issued a notice that their lead instructors overwhelmingly agreed to similar action.

The actions are apparently not limited to a single division. According to draft letters forwarded to CSEA, faculty in as many as four departments or programs in Career and Technical Programs intend to notify their department chairs this week that faculty intend to decline program coordinator roles effective Spring Quarter. Discussions with faculty from each department revealed that faculty will teach in the classroom rather than accept reassigned time from teaching duties and the additional responsibilities that come with lead instructor/program coordinator roles. These same faculty said they are working to support junior faculty to discourage them from taking on the roles until a contract agreement is concluded.


Your questions regarding our last Update defining WORKING TO THE RULE-doing only those activities specifically required as part of your 14 hours of basic Mission and Learning Support-showed widespread support even from non-union faculty. If you have additional questions, contact one of your union officers. Working to the rule allows faculty to meet their work requirements while demonstrating how much additional effort they are willing to bring to a workplace that demonstrates, through good-faith bargaining and reasonable contract terms, that it values their commitment to Columbus State. Once faculty members meet the 14 hours of Mission and Learning Support in a given week (which includes preparation and grading time), they have fulfilled their responsibilities for that week and no additional duties should be performed while "working to the rule."


The CSEA Executive Committee met with about 50 adjunct faculty in open meetings last Thursday and Friday. The Committee summarized past efforts by Faculty Senate to address adjunct faculty issues, including creation of the Standing Committee on Adjunct Faculty Concerns. Senate recommendations attempted to get adjuncts faculty paid in a timely manner (i.e., not having to wait a month for the first paycheck each quarter) and to establish year-long contracts and partial medical benefits for experienced adjunct faculty. The Standing Committee died when the Board dissolved the Senate in the wake of 2001's union representation vote, and the administration ignored the Senate's request to study a graduated pay scale for adjuncts and alternatives to quarter-by-quarter contracts.

The adjuncts who attended were largely supportive of CSEA, and several urged their colleagues to join the Contract Faculty Association, which is attempting to organize adjuncts and to challenge the state law limiting their right to organize for purposes of collective bargaining. With the possibility of a strike by full-time faculty on the horizon, adjunct faculty heard their full-time colleagues describe past efforts on behalf of adjuncts and a request that adjuncts not replace full-time faculty in the classroom if a work stoppage occurs. CSEA recognizes that, since it is not bargaining on behalf of adjunct faculty, it can not reasonably expect adjuncts to jeopardize their limited income or their jobs by refusing to continue to teach their own classes during a strike by full-time faculty.

Talk to your own adjuncts. We have common interests, and their support will assist us in the short run and build greater cooperation between all faculty. For those adjuncts who eventually obtain full-time employment, the improvements we gain now will benefit them later.


Faculty report that students are increasingly asking about what will happen if faculty strike. Their most pressing questions seem to center on two areas. One is whether they will receive the total credits for their courses if classes are interrupted. The other is about potential tuition refunds. In addition, students want to know what happens if their classes are not completed and the textbook or textbook edition changes before they take the courses again will the college then pay for the textbook the next time they take the courses. Faculty can't answer these questions accurately. We suggest that questions about academic credits be directed to the Provost's office, and that questions about tuition refunds or adjustments for textbook costs be directed to the Vice President for Business and Finance. Students deserve direct and honest answers to their concerns, and these are issues we can't address.


We are hoping to send any interested members to the Central OEA/NEA Leadership Development Conference Saturday, March 1, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Fawcett Center on Olentangy River Road. All registration costs, including lunch, will be covered.

Sessions will provide useful information and hands-on skills to bring to the local association, including building organizational infrastructure, addressing growing health care issues, and establishing effective support for members within the workplace and within the union. Contact Steve Abbott at x5096 no later than Thursday, Feb. 20, if you would like to attend.


In a recent email and an identical letter sent to faculty at their home addresses, Dr. Moeller mentioned undocumented reports that "faculty are being threatened with respect to future tenure, promotion, and employment decisions." Her letter continued: "If anyone is threatening you in any way regarding your potential participation in a strike and linking it to promotion or tenure decisions or indicating that you will be fired, please understand that not only is this behavior inappropriate, it is illegal and constitutes an unfair labor practice." We agree. Please report any efforts at coercion to any of your CSEA officers.


For continuing updates and other interesting information, check out www.cseaohio.org, our website that is under construction.

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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