Monday, September 30, 2013

Myth and the October 1 Election

The Myth of Union Dues

As classroom faculty we know that clarity and truth are vital communication elements.  Our students deserve it, and we work hard to provide it.  So it should come as no surprise that the goal for the HSSU-NEA in these days before the October 1 election is for clarity and truth.

In a letter to the faculty dated September 11, the Interim President and Chairwoman of the Board of Regents stated, “Further, please bear in mind that if you vote to join the union, your take-home pay will be reduced by your union dues.    In their letter to the faculty dated September 24, they again raised the spectre of “paying union dues.”

It is true that members of the HSSU-NEA pay “union dues,” but as Maya Angelou so elegantly put it, “Half a truth is often a great lie.”

1.    The election on October 1 is not “to join the union,” it is to elect MNEA as your representative for the purpose of collective bargaining, and negotiating a collective bargaining agreement for the full time faculty.  You are not voting “to join the union.”

2.    Union membership is not a requirement. In fact, the HSSU-NEA fully embraces the duty of fair representation, which obligates an exclusive representative to enforce a collective bargaining agreement for all members of the bargaining unit, in this case, all HSSU-NEA full time faculty, HSSU-NEA members or not.  Know this:

·      All full time faculty will be consulted as we prepare for bargaining. 
·      All full time faculty will participate in an agreement ratification vote. 
·      All full time faculty will enjoy the rights and benefits of a collective bargaining agreement. 

Ultimately, the HSSU-NEA is confident the majority of full time faculty will come to see and understand the benefits of membership, and will decide as individuals to voluntarily join us in solidarity.  But union membership is not, will not, and cannot be a requisite for either the election or the benefits of having MNEA as your representative for bargaining.

 The Myth of Relinquishing Your “Right of Communication” to a Third Party

The ballot you will receive on Tuesday will read, “I wish to designate Missouri National Education Association to be my exclusive representative for purposes of meeting with representatives of Harris-Stowe State University on matters related to collective bargaining.”

The HSSU-NEA’s goal is a collective bargaining agreement to secure our individual rights as Harris-Stowe faculty.  Academic freedom, professional development, sabbaticals, and tenure and promotion - for example - are core values and rights which each of us as individual faculty members deserve to have clearly articulated in writing.

Know this:  Our individual right (not “privilege” as the interim president and chairwoman referred to it) to speak openly and honestly as Harris-Stowe faculty members  - whether to the administration or Board of Regents or in another university forum – will be enhanced by a YES vote on Tuesday.

Clarity and truth.

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