President John Fallon is on WEMU as I type this this morning. Here’s what he said:
- Fallon the offer we got on Tuesday was no improvement over what we were offered originally; it was merely a rearrangment of the dollars.
- For the first time ever, the reason he gave for the not great offer in the first place was poverty. Fallon claims that 67% of every dollar of expenses come from students and we just can’t afford these extra expenses. I suppose he means faculty salaries, but he’s conveniently forgetting administrator salaries, the football team, the new student union, etc., etc. And besides that: had they left insurance untouched, I think they could have given everyone 1.5-2%, not spent anymore money, and gotten a deal.
- To paraphrase, “I care about faculty, but we can’t willy-nilly spend our money on just anything.” For sure! Faculty are the heart of the institution and our buildings are collapsing but jeez, we just can’t spend money on these things!
- Fallon said fact finding could take as long as two months, even longer. Then he said he thinks that fact finding is a great idea, because it represents “stability,” even though it’s going to take “some months, eight months to a year.” (So, what is it? 2 or 8 or 12?!) I agree with him about the benefits of fact finding, and I think it’s something that I think both the union and the administration ought to consider next time at the start of this negotiating process. But a year?! How does this save the administration any money?
- David Fair from WEMU flat-out asked if the administration would adhere to the fact finders findings. Fallon very clumsily stepped around that one. He said some pretty words about the recommendations, about them being public, etc. And then he said these recommendations “Cannot be summarily dismissed. That feature alone means that we can’t just walk away from the fact finding results.” Fair kept pressing him on this, but of course, no comittment was given. He did say at some point in this interview that he’s confident that the fact finder will find in favor of the administration.
- They talked about the other contracts on campus. Fallon said that he didn’t think the faculty union contract would signal a different approach by the other bargaining units; rather, he had hoped that the deal they had made with the other units would have had an effect on how the administration negotiated with the faculty. First off, the only other bargaining unit that has a contract that I know of right now is the lecturers. Second, they got a pretty crappy contract. And third, what he was hoping has never happened here before. Because the faculty union is by far the largest on campus, we have tended to be the one that has set the pace for everyone else. It doesn’t work the other way around.
I’m sure the whole thing will be up on the WEMU web site soon.