What's Really Happening - 2005/08/18



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of August 18, 2005


In response to the Board's refusal to negotiate a salary schedule or reasonable health care costs, nearly 50 program coordinators and lead instructors have notified their department chairs that they will not serve in those roles Autumn Quarter.

These faculty will take on additional teaching assignments in lieu of the hours of reassigned time they receive to interview and supervise adjunct faculty, monitor labs, resolve student complaints, and perform a host of other administrative responsibilities.

This will create considerable difficulty for more than a few managers and staff. We regret this. But the Board has decided to attempt to roll back the improvements that faculty were able to achieve in the initial contract. In fact, the Board's position on salary and health care benefits would mean, in real dollars (after inflation), a pay cut for faculty, as it has this year for staff. The Board opposes a faculty salary schedule-the norm in education for over 50 years-because it is "not appropriate for Columbus State." They believe that raises should be merit based.

Yet, with the boondoggle of Datatel still confusing students and employees alike, enrollment reports that make no sense, a decline in enrollment that is still unexplained, and employee morale at a historic low, the Board found merit somewhere in the College: it gave the CEO an 8.3% raise (concealing 4.3%-nearly $10,000-of the increase in the CEO's housing allowance). And they did this, apparently with no shame, as they slapped the College's staff with 2.5% raises and increased health care costs that have left many making less money in August than they did in January.


As you are probably aware, Teamsters Local 284 has begun a drive aimed at organizing various staff units on campus. In light of the way the Board has forced staff to pay 75% more for their health insurance premiums while freezing the College's costs, even after staff were assured that the College would "take care of them" as long as they didn't organize three years ago, we believe that all staff should seriously consider their options at this point. It is clear that no employees can trust this Administration to "take care of" them in a fair and equitable manner. Evidently, this Board either does not care about the ramifications of their actions, or they are (again) being misinformed about those probable ramifications.


CSEA is preparing to take its concerns about the management of the College to students and the community in a series of informational pickets at the campus beginning August 25. CSEA served the HR office with a Notice of Intent to Picket on August 16, providing the 10-day notice required by law. The Board's attitude in dealing with several serious issues suggests that its members are unaware or uncaring of what's really happening in the offices and spaces where employees-faculty and staff-work to make education happen at Columbus State.

Informational picketing is about creating awareness and building support. It is not confrontational or disruptive. It is not a strike action. CSEA members and supporters will maintain a public presence and distribute flyers at various locations around the campus.

If you have not yet been contacted directly and want to support the informational picket, contact Karl Rieppel or Bill Mundy.


Historically, public-sector employees have accepted lower salaries than workers in the private sector in exchange for good health care benefits, job security, and a decent retirement. Now it appears that Columbus State has adopted a corporate mentality more suited to a small, privately held business than to an institution of higher education, displacing the historic goal of providing quality education.

Columbus State has built an enviable reputation for quality that is being eroded by a management approach that glorifies corporate models, stifles critical discussion among managers, and increasingly works to control rather than encourage. CSEA is uncertain about what decisions led to this change, but it is committed to maintaining the College's reputation. Our work here is not an exercise in resume-building or a career move-it is our career. Boards and CEO's come and go; the faculty stay on.


CSEA encourages all faculty to volunteer to work at the annual Taste the Future fundraiser for the CSCC Development Foundation on Tuesday, September 13, from 5:30-10 PM. Each year Taste the Future raises several hundred thousand dollars that becomes scholarships for our students. And at the end of the night the leftovers are yummy.

Contact Nina Reese at nreese@cscc.edu.

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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