The Strike of 2006: Suspension extensions, rallies, meetings, oh my!

The word this morning is that the administration once again offered its “last best offer” (can you keep offering slightly different last best offers?), and, according to Howard Bunsis, there has not been “significant movement from their original position.” So, as he told the crowd at a 6 am rally (which I did not attend– I just heard from phone call) and in an email, the suspension has been extended to midnight tonight, and there’s a meeting of union members at noon today where the bargaining team will seek guidance about what to do next.

Now, I have TOTALLY supported the way that the union has handled stuff since the administration walked out. Not even a monkey would have agreed to a deal which would directly impact the work lives of nearly 700 people (not to mention indirectly effect thousands of students and co-workers) without taking at least an hour or two to mull it over. Hell, the administration’s team takes hours to decide anything and they have the gaul to say “well, we gave you 15 minutes to decide your next five years.” Of course, the administration’s lawyers and PR firm do bill by the hour. And the fact that the union was able to put together any counter-offer at all is remarkable.

Tangent: And let me just say a few things to some of my friends and colleagues who are dubious about this whole 10 pm walk-out by the administration. First off, this process is known as “collective bargaining.” As I understand it, the way that works is that one side gives an offer, the other side gives a counter-offer (and so on), and then, through this exchange, the parties reach an agreement. If either side says “at such-and-such time, I am done talking with you,” then that side is not really bargaining. In other words, when the administration set up this ultimatum (and when they didn’t do all kinds of other stuff, like not provide information about health care costs that the union requested until after we were on strike), they were demonstrating that they fundamentally were not all that interested in collective bargaining all along. Second, and this is key, the administration left the table and the building. So let’s just say for the sake of argument, as I have heard rumor of, that really, the union team had this final offer long before 9:45 Tuesday night. Had the administration’s bargaining team simply stayed in the room about a week ago, we would have either been teaching Wednesday morning or shortly after that. /Tangent

Having said all that, I think we need to seriously consider whatever this offer is now. I of course want to reserve judgment until after we actually hear what the offer is. But as I have always said, my bottom line is pretty simple: I don’t want paying for insurance to force me to take a pay cut. I personally don’t think this is the time to ask for a lot of money, which is why asking for money based on inflation is problematic, even though it probably is true that we will either be behind or pretty much in the same place money-wise in three to five years.

So, if the offer is only a little bit better than the offer the administration published before, well, I think it may be time to take it. But like I said, let’s see what happens at noon today.

2 thoughts on “The Strike of 2006: Suspension extensions, rallies, meetings, oh my!”

  1. To me, I think that anything that forces the administration to disclose information is a good thing. We have to realize this is a distance run, not a sprint. I’m all for fact finding and forcing them to present the data surrounding the running of this place and seeing our position relative to other schools. That would also allow the union to maintain the moral higher ground we’ve assumed in being open to negotiation the whole time. I worry about taking either extreme at this point, and how that will be understood and interpreted by people in the union of the varying positions. This is going to be a tough job–but I’m going to try speak my piece at the meeting.

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