The Strike of 2006: Taking a day off to work

There were a couple of different articles out there about the suspension of the strike; I think this one in the Ann Arbor News “EMU faculty back in class,” sums it up pretty well. We did indeed go back to work today. Well, that sort of assumes that faculty actually stopped working entirely, I suppose. Also, channel 7 just reported that the DPS teachers were going to vote on a contract tomorrow.

It was a kind of weird, actually. It was striking (no pun intended) to me coming to campus because there were so many more students around today than there were yesterday. They had gotten the news. Generally, I think the mood was up-beat, at least early in the day. I don’t know how much work folks actually accomplished; I didn’t get much done, but then again, I wasn’t teaching today. I did spend some time meeting with some students, including one I had a few years ago who was coming back because he’s thinking about graduate school. He told me some great stories about teaching in China, mostly about how it was surprisingly boring.

But I still have this overwhelming feeling of being sooo very far behind. These last two weeks have felt like two months, what with all the stress, the craziness, the lack of sleep, the “all strike all the time,” etc. You can’t move from that mental place back to the “now I’m a college professor again” in just a day. I want to/need to make a “to do” list, but I’m kind of scared to make that list.

And then there’s the whole disturbing possibility that we might actually be back on strike tomorrow. The news that started trickling out of the union office in the afternoon was not encouraging. Now remember, these messages came in the afternoon, and there’s plenty of time between then (and now) and tomorrow morning. But I would have felt a lot better had the updates from the union been something like “oh, we’re so close!”

You know, Bunsis said in a couple of different forums (the newspaper, radio, in meetings, etc.) that if we could get back to the bargaining table, we could have a deal in 24 hours. I have no doubt that the administration’s team (especially their attorney) is doing what they can to make that impossible. But I think the union needs to continue to take the high-ground, be the grown-up, and make a deal.

And you know what? I think that the folks at the table for the union need to keep the bigger picture in mind. Faculty and students alike need to get on with the school year (not to mention our lives), and I think we need to get on to the conversation about the future of this institution. And of where we want/need to take the union.

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