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SEIU Union Drive, “Let the Misdirection Begin”
April 9, 2016 Disingenuous

After some back and forth, Mr. Holt finally decided to answer my questions, well, sort of (his answers in bold, my new responses in color below them):

Did U of R faculty members reach out to you in an effort to help them? U of R faculty did reach out to us. In fact there is an entire Organizing Committee that has sent letters, and emailed most of you at the University as recent as yesterday.
I see, nor have ever seen, any evidence of this. I was not part of the UR faculty who reached out. So SOME UR faculty reached out to SEIU on behalf of ALL of those of us who may be covered and this was done without so much as an e-mail, or a personal visit, or a mailing? Is that even allowed? The e-mails to the faculty ONLY came after Mr. Holt stalked me in my classrooms. This timing does not work out. Either SEIU reached out to faculty, or only SOME faculty reached out and is trying to envelop other faculty in their decisions.  But again, there is no correspondence to me until Mr. Holt stalked me in my classrooms. 
Do you explain the above to all of the people that you meet and present cards to?We are very thorough in our conversations but as you know sometimes the professor cuts the conversation short.

Well, again this would seem to be an admission that they are not thorough. If you are stalking people in their place of work and trying to have a serious conversation about something that will have a major impact on their career, perhaps it would be more appropriate to send a fully detailed letter, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to visit, to explain the purpose of the visit, and arrange for a time when there is no cutting conversations short. I was accosted by Mr. Holt BETWEEN classes and while I had at least a half-dozen students wanting to talk to me about the class we had just completed. Yet Mr. Holt and the SEIU think this is a satisfactory way to communicate?

Do you explain to people that they will be forced to be covered by the union should the election work out that way? And do you explain to people that you only want folks to fill out cards if they are going to vote yes? No one is forced to do anything.  
All decisions are made up during the bargaining process where faculty get to decide what is appropriate in their bargaining unit. We ask the same questions to everyone before they sign card “do you support coming together with your colleagues to form a union.”  I asked you that very question outside of the building.  The reason I reached out to begin with was during a follow up, to see if you had any questions, you told my organizers you didn’t remember signing anything, so it concerned me and that’s why I sent you the copy and am answering your questions now.

Notice the clever and blobby language. First of all, this is an outright lie. I am forced into the union if the election is successful and it is certified. NYS is not a “right to work state.” Mr. Holt never took the time to explain it to me, maybe he knew as a labor economist that I understood this. And he surely did not explain it in any open correspondence with all faculty affected. I said “yes” to his question first because I think my colleagues should have a right to come together and second because I wanted to make sure I got all of the information I could from the union organizers. 

Do you explain to people how their current arrangements may change should an election take place and the votes come in?
 
I don’t understand how your current situation would change.  You bargain from where you are at.  And because you and your colleagues are voting on the contract I don’t believe you would vote for anything less than improvements.

Mr. Holt either does not understand the very process he is trying to initiate, or he is lying. Either way, it is untoward. He does not describe in this response nor in any other correspondence with faculty, exactly what it means to have your contract details bargained collectively. He does not detail how my existing contract might change, what sorts of things could be negotiated for and not negotiated for, whether any portion of my existing arrangement could change, and more. But the big lie is that you do not bargain from where you are at. I would no longer be permitted to work with my very own department chair on the details of my teaching assignment. In addition I would no longer be able to negotiate with my dean or associate dean on details of my appointment. I WOULD HAVE THOSE RIGHTS STRIPPED AWAY. That is an extreme reduction in the quality of my working relationship with the U of R, which for 8 years has been extremely cordial, satisfying, flexible and cooperative. The process by which I obtained my current job and the collaborative way it has evolved has been perhaps the most important attribute of my job, and now people whom I have never met are threatening to take this away from me? And their response is breathless, “I don’t believe you would vote for anything less than improvements.” That is viciously misleading. The existence of a labor contract that binds me is not an improvement.

Do you explain to people if they are in any way able to opt out of the union if the vote goes through? All those decisions are made during the bargaining process on whether or not you want the shop to be open or closed.

Who gets to determine that? And how would that be democratic? If in fact they are trying to prevent me from signing a card if I am not interested, then why force me into the unit?

Do you explain to people what their likely union dues would be (how much) and how they would be used? Yes, dues are 30 dollars a month, and you don’t pay them until you have bargained and ratified a contract. You also don’t pay them if you are not teaching. There are no initiation fees as well.

This was not in any way explained in the meetings with faculty and never in any public correspondence. And do we get to know what this $360 per year would be used for? Of course not.

Is it legal for you to ask me how I am going to vote? We don’t ask how you are going to vote, we will ask if you are supportive of forming a Union with your colleagues.  How you vote is up to you.
It seems that Mr. Holt is saying, “It depends on what the meaning of “IS” is”. I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman.  He very clearly told me, as you see in a prior post, that he will tear up my card if he does not think I support the union. Play word games all you want, but you are violating both the standards of decency and the basic rules of communication.  
Now a few questions of my own.
1) Do you still support coming together with your colleagues to form a union?
2) Would you like to be more involved in your campaign.
I hope this was thorough enough for you Mike and if you have any other questions in the future, do not hesitate to ask. I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.

And of course I’d want to be more involved – I want to make sure I am not included in the unit, and if I am included I very much want to see the effort fail. BNut I suspect Mr. Holt does not respect that position. He has been very quiet since.

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