My day has not exactly gone by the plan so far. First off, my gym is still closed, and, like EMU, will not likely re-open until after Labor Day. So I couldn’t work out and I still feel flabby. And then second, I decided that picketing wasn’t going to work for me today, mainly because it’s my son’s 9th birthday and I do have my priorities.
I did drive around campus on my way home and I did see that pickets are in place. But, and I don’t want to be picky about our picketing, I wonder if we’re taking the right strategy on the way we do this. It makes sense to me to post pickets at things like loading docks and the enterance points of construction sites on campus, especially since some of the workers in some of those unions (the Teamsters, for example) have it written into their contract that they won’t cross another union’s picket line. But beyond that, I personally think that the union would be better off organizing pickets around a few key places on campus and also to focus on some rally-type pickets at specific times. In other words, instead of it all being about 24 hour posts, why not schedule a picket/rally in front of the University House for noon or 1 pm? Why not keep the pickets up around Welch Hall? Why not plan a picket around Pray-Harrold on Sunday while the student/parent orientation is going on?
Just my thoughts. I don’t expect to be getting an email or a post from the union folks suggesting I organize something like that. :-)
Speaking of union versus administration folks: while driving around this morning, I heard both Hartmut Hoft and Howard Bunsis on WEMU radio. You can take a listen to these interviews yourself by following this link. It’s really a classic we say/they say kind of thing, but it’s interesting in at least two regards, I think. First, both sides accuse the other of not bargaining in good faith– in other words, there are unfair labor practice claims flowing out of both groups right now. Second, neither side of the table seems to feel the need/pressure to settle before the start of classes. As I’ve mentioned before, that kind of pisses me off.
Anyway, I’ll get back to this stuff in more earnest tomorrow. Today is the opening of my son Will’s birthday– really birth-week since he doesn’t officially have his party until Sunday.
Friday Night Update:
A few thoughts on the day at the end of it:
- My colleague Steve B. did some picketing today and said there were quite a few faculty up there with signs and enthusiastic and all of that. All a good thing.
- I heard a rumor (not from Steve B., I want to point out) that there had been some “significant progress” made today. At the same time, I’m not sure Howard Bunsis’ message to faculty has a lot of “significant progress” info in it. On the one hand, it sounds like some progress has been made on the biggest issue, health care. On the other hand, if you listen to Howard, it doesn’t look like a lot has happened with the other issues.
- The parties have decided to take Saturday off and resume negotiations for Sunday. I don’t entirely know what that means. Have negotiations progressed to the point that they think they can wrap this up on Sunday? Are we supposed to picket on Saturday even if there are no negotiations? Does everyone just need, you know, a day off?
- In the spirit of “piling on” the they say/we say thing, here’s what Hartmut Hoft said in today’s paper: ” “It’s clear, despite the university’s best efforts, that the (union) leadership was intent on striking and engaged in surface bargaining. They clearly had no intention of reaching an agreement.” I’m not really questioning Hartmut’s sincerity; I’m just saying that this sure as heck sounds like something Howard would have said, too.
- Speaking of Howard: he sent around an email in response to one the provost sent to everyone the other day. Actually, I got four copies of Don Loppnow’s email, which makes me feel like that’s giving me permission to post it here. But I won’t. Anyway, Loppnow predictably pleaded institutional poverty, and Bunsis predictably suggested that EMU is just loaded. I think the truth is probably somewhere in between, but Howard does have a point: it’s kind of hard for the EMU administration to claim that we are poorer now than we were a couple years ago given that EMU’s appropriation from the state of Michigan is $2 million more this year than it was last. And EMU has had to spend a lot of money paying off fired and/or laid off adminstrators lately, too.
But like I said, we’ll see, we’ll see….