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SEIU Update, May 4

Two updates. First, I have been e-mailing the SEIU organizer, Joseph Holt, for over a week now asking him both about the status of the union card I (stupidly) signed and about the status of the election. I asked him to tear up my card (figuring that reducing the chances of an election even happening is a better way forward than being in an election and voting no) and also about the timing of the process. And shocker: total radio silence. Think about that. The union is propogandizing to all of the faculty about how they are cooperative, are here to give us a voice, are here to improve conditions, and yet they cannot (or refuse to) answer very simple questions about process to the very people they are trying to “help.”

Second, here is the message that the faculty organizing committee sent to the contingent faculty group yesterday. My reading of this is that the group has decided that they will only be trying to organize the “adjunct” faculty and not the full-time non-tenure trackers. This is obviously eminently good news for me if true, though I still believe that the entire movement is detrimental to collegiality, the university’s interests and the faculty’s interests. I e-mailed Professor Thomas about the status of the union drive, in particular if my reading of the letter is correct, but again have not heard a response back.

I actually cannot find Professor Thomas listed anywhere on the Warner school website, I would like to know from what position he is representing me?

From: Andrew Thomas <______@warner.rochester.edu>
Date: Tue, May 3, 2016 at 7:55 PM
Subject: Wrapping Up the Semester
To: Andrew Thomas <_______@gmail.com>

Dear Colleagues,
Last week several of you attended the forum held by the U of R Faculty Senate to hear administrators and faculty union representatives speak about our efforts to unionize contingent faculty here. Many good questions were asked and we wanted to formally share some of the answers to these with those who may not have been able to attend. Attached is an FAQ we sent around more than a month ago. Many of the answers are located within this FAQ. In addition:
How can faculty be sure they receive a ballot if an election is held over the summer?
If there is an election during the summer, faculty will be notified by both the administration and SEIU, at minimum via email. Faculty will receive a physical ballot in the mail based on the address they have on file with the administration. There is typically a window of time in which you can request a new ballot if for some reason you do not receive one. If you are traveling, you can request, through the NLRB, to have your ballot sent to any address you will be at. This is a fair, democratic process and our goal is to be sure everyone has a voice and a vote. These are the bedrocks of building a union.
What guarantees are there in bargaining a contract? How will we be sure we don’t lose benefits or pay?
First, it is important to note that as a faculty union organizing committee, we are steadfastly determined to leave no person behind in bargaining and will strive to make the bargaining process as fair, democratic and positive as possible. Around the nation, NO faculty union contract bargained by SEIU has seen losses in pay or benefits. ALL faculty have moved forward with across the board raises and initiatives. Second, we understand that there are no guarantees in bargaining. Although we are protected in many ways by labor laws, it is technically possible to move forward, backward or stagnate. However, as aforementioned, it is our solid commitment that we will only put forth and vote on a contract that moves all faculty forward. We would hope that would be your commitment in joining us, as well. We have strength and power in numbers, as we’ve seen across the nation.
We are moving forward as an adjunct organizing committee (wintercow emphasis added) to make improvements for ourselves and our students here at U of R. The pattern we have seen emerge at schools across the country such as Tufts and Ithaca College is that when adjuncts form and win their unions, their full-time contingent colleagues frequently follow in their footsteps. We hope this is the case here at the University of Rochester. We feel a collaborative relationship of working together is what will best serve our students and university. The goal of forming a union is to unite — not to divide. We encourage you to join together by forming a full-time contingent organizing committee to take part in the work of forming your own faculty union when ready to do so. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to meet to discuss how you can help to spearhead efforts for full-time faculty.
U of R Faculty Organizing Committee

2 Responses to “SEIU Update, May 4”

  1. 09grad says:

    Wintercow – I believe this is the Andrew Thomas you’re looking for:

    Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-thomas-2540a521
    Warner Website: https://www.warner.rochester.edu/content/courses/?ia=18127

    Mr. Thomas is representing you as a 2014 Warner PhD who teaches 1 summer class a year. Scary stuff.

  2. wintercow20 says:

    Either way, he isn’t responding to my emails either. Classy.

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