What's Really Happening - 2005/09/21




Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of September 21, 2005


Shortly after students and faculty yesterday announced plans to attend the bi-monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees Thursday evening, the President abruptly canceled the meeting until November. CSEA had planned a faculty march from Nestor Hall to the Board meeting in Franklin Hall.

In response to a noticeable decline in the level of service to students, CSEA members and a number of students-some of whom are scholarship recipients-planned to address the Board during the public participation portion of its agenda. Comments would have noted continuing problems with the college's computer system that have affected registration and enrollment, elimination of the Strategic Enrollment Management office, and the college's disproportionate ratio of students to full-time faculty.

According to an administration source quoted in the Columbus Dispatch, the cancellation was necessary because 5 Board members would not be able to attend the meeting. Strangely enough, when 8 of the 9 Board members attended last Thursday's meeting of the Committee of the Whole at which the Board discussed the proposed agenda, no Board members expressed any scheduling problems for this Thursday's meeting, which had been scheduled since last December. Simply put, this one doesn't pass the smell test.

We appreciate the students who were prepared to bring to the Board another perspective on conditions at Columbus State, and we're disappointed that the Board chose to delay hearing from those the College exists to serve. We encourage all of you to be ready to respond on short notice to any stealth ("emergency") meeting that may be scheduled in the coming weeks.

The Board seems unaware of what's really happening at the college. They will learn only if we tell them. And then the responsibility to act is theirs.


Over 100 faculty, including several adjunct instructors, attended Tuesday's meeting in Franklin 106 to discuss and consider the Board of Trustees' "Last/Best/Final Offer." After 90 minutes of discussion and questions, including insights from OEA labor consultants Bill Otten and Bill Pearsol, members began to vote on whether to accept or reject the Board's attempt to impose a settlement rather than actively negotiate on salary and benefits. Voting will continue Wednesday and Thursday.

The CSEA Negotiating Committee recommended that members vote to REJECT the Board's power play.

During a mediation session September 2, the Board's negotiators rejected compromise proposals from CSEA and attempted to serve the CSEA bargaining team with a "last/best/final offer"-in effect, an ultimatum to accept the Board terms on unresolved issues. In labor negotiations, a "last/best/final offer" occurs only when neither party is willing to budge on its position. On that day, however, CSEA negotiators had submitted 2 proposals that negotiators said they could be flexible on in order to reach a settlement.

For CSEA to accept the Board's "offer" would allow the Board to control all "bargaining" in the future. There has been NO BARGAINING on salary and health care. The Board has attempted to call off negotiations to short-circuit the real give-and-take that bargaining demands. (On July 25, an independent fact finder's report criticized the lack of actual bargaining, and the Board has offered no fresh proposals since then. At a September 2 mediation session, the Board's negotiators refused to consider any alternatives to its previous positions and called an end to negotiations.)

The Board has set a deadline on Friday for CSEA to accept or reject its "offer." Voting will continue Wednesday and Thursday, September 21-22, in the Mathematics Department conference room on the 4th floor of Davidson Hall between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. CSEA members are urged to take a few minutes out of the hectic opening days of Autumn Quarter to vote to REJECT the Board's ultimatum. (Members who pay their full dues in a lump sum annually, and have not yet paid for the 2005-06 academic year, may renew their memberships by check at the time of voting.)



Many faculty have questions about what will happen if the Board implements its "Last/Best/Final Offer" over the objections of the college's teachers. Many others wonder about their rights (regardless of union membership) in a strike situation, and still others are concerned about what a strike would mean in practical, day-to-day terms.

The CSEA Crisis Committee has invited representatives of the Ohio Education Association to campus next Tuesday and Wednesday, September 28-29. They will be here from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day in the Mathematics Department conference room, 4th floor of Davidson Hall.

These trained personnel will be available to speak privately with any bargaining unit member (members and non-members alike) and answer questions about insurance, short-term loans, legal rights, and other issues related to a job action. As part of the OEA support services maintained by your Association dues, they will listen confidentially to your concerns and provide accurate information. Your participation will help OEA staff convey to the Executive Committee a more complete understanding of all faculty's viewpoints as we plan for future action.

The Board's rejection of further negotiation has created a crisis atmosphere. Although we hope to resume talks, many people are anxious. Sometimes it's easier to share your thoughts with a disinterested third party. Stop by the 4th floor of Davidson Hall next Tuesday or Wednesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and tell OEA's support staff what you think.

Remember: it doesn't matter what your membership status is, or what your view of negotiations is, or whether you prefer reality TV over classic movies-what matters is that you take the time to say what you really think and get your questions answered. What you say will determine what we do. It's that important.


Morphing from the "We TEACH the Future" badge worn by faculty at the Taste the Future informational picket and CSEA volunteers inside the event, the new CSEA badge says it all: "Teachers Deserve Better."

The new badges were distributed at Tuesday's all-faculty meeting. We hope you'll wear yours daily. And the helpful talking points on the back of each badge will provide reminders about the issues when you are inevitably asked, "What's really happening?"

If you don't have a badge yet, make a quick call to one of the people listed below. You'll have a badge the same day.

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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