The Strike of 2006: "Fact Finding"

The news tonight: the administrations’ response to the union’s offer of to enter binding arbitration was, basically, no (the bad news), but what about an application for a fact-finding proceedure? That’s the good news. Here’s a link to the letter.

Again, IAMAL, but as I understand it, what this means is that a third party would be brought in, this person would look at the numbers and arguments, and write a report about what they think. The main difference between this and binding arbitration is it’s not binding– that is, either side could look at the report, decide that they don’t like what it says, and not change the offer. Though that would obviously have some consequences.

Now, once again in an effort to make sure everyone understands that this is still a battle for dominance, President Fallon’s letter calls for the faculty to first end its strike and then enter this fact finding mission. This might be legal semantics, but it sure sounds to me like an effort of getting the union to give in, even if just a little.

When is someone going to be a grown-up here?

The union has called a meeting at 2 pm tomorrow, and I am assuming that there will be talk about this. Hopefully some kind of vote. Personally, I think the union should welcome this as a positive step and I think the union ought to suggest two possible paths to resolving this mess:

  • Once again invite the administration back to the table for talks (remember, they left! not the union!) and see if we can’t take one more try at reaching an agreement. Hell, do it on Saturday– as it is, the union is calling for folks to take a day off from picketing then anyway. Let the administration claim we’re not on strike that day. Get these parties together and I bet we get a deal.
  • Or, if that’s not in the cards, let’s take the fact finding thing. If the union is confident in its numbers and was willing to call for binding arbitration, then the fact finder is not much different. I’d suggest that the union use the language of “suspending” instead of ending the strike until this is all resolved, but again, we would have done that with binding arbitration.

    To me, this is a win-win for the union. It’s highly unlikely that this fact finder would discover the administration was offering us too much. If the fact finding finds that the administration’s offer is about fair, okay, then let’s take it. If the fact finder finds that we really ought to be getting 4% or 5% a year for five years, well, that’d be better than great.

    Let’s get on with this, folks. I want this blog to be about computers and writing stuff again.

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