Monthly Archives: April 2011

Access takes money

For you WCU English Department subscribers, you’ve seen some of this before…

At this past weekend’s APSCUF Legislative Assembly in Greensburg, statewide CAP (Committee for Action through Politics) chair Brad Wilson provided delegates with a couple of slightly distressing numbers I need to pass along.

1.  Statewide, only about 50% of APSCUF members donate our yearly dues rebate back to the organization.

2.  At WCU, only about 5% of APSCUF members donate to CAP via voluntary payroll deductions, a system that’s been in place for many years.

I know some people aren’t in position to take extra payroll deductions for much of any reason; if you’re one of those folks, I’m not talking to you when I say this:

APSCUF-CAP needs money.

Brad Wilson, in his report, made what struck me as the obvious version of the point.  Right now, Governor Corbett has threatened to slash our budget in half, while he refuses to tax gas companies for extractions from or profits on Marcellus Shale.  Why?

I’m not saying we’ll ever outspend huge energy companies, nor should we.  I am saying, however, that along with our strong and continuing grassroots efforts to convince legislators not to halve our budget, we can do a lot more, and a lot more effectively, and a lot more sustainably, with just a little help from a lot more faculty members.

An important point of clarification: I imagine that some of you will respond to this request saying something like, “We just had our dues increased last year, and you’re already asking for MORE money?”  And the answer is yes.  The money we collect from last year’s dues increase goes to pay organizational expenses–office expenses, staff salaries, legal fees, assembly/meeting costs, public relations, and so on.  It’s illegal to spend that money on lobbying.  Your CAP contribution would go to nothing but lobbying and candidate endorsements.

This isn’t complicated stuff, y’all.  Every faculty who can afford to offer a voluntary CAP payroll deduction, we need you.  When you fill out the form, which you can find on-line here, you’ll see that you can specify the amount of your deduction.  I wouldn’t presume to suggest an amount you should contribute, except to say that we can certainly find useful places to put every penny.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, CAP, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Follow the Money, lobbying, PASSHE

Teachers getting fired all over the place

Via Jana Nestlerode, two articles about mass teacher firings–

1.  Under Michigan’s new emergency manager law, the city of Detroit’s emergency appointee has sent layoff notices to all unionized teachers in the city.

2.  Providence, RI has simply dismissed all its public school teachers. They will, of course, rehire some.

If your response to this is, “That’s awful but it won’t happen here” or anything like that, I can’t tell you how much I’d love for you to be right.

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Filed under Budget, Budget Cuts, Communities, K-12 Education, Links, Retrenchment

Just in case you’re not clear on the political context…

…for Tom Corbett’s proposal to slash the PASSHE budget and all public education budgets in PA, for the Feds’ desperate rush to cut spending in the middle of deficit and so on, this gem of a video makes it all crystal clear.  Thanks to Kevin Mahoney from the KUXchange for posting.

 

So remember–

Wed April 27, 7 pm.  Chester County Courthouse!  Rally for Public Education!

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, K-12 Education, Kutztown University, PASSHE, Public education, Shock Doctrine, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

Er, just in case you missed it…

Folks, this email from Cliff, originally a memo from State APSCUF President Hicks, was in your email Monday.  Given the lack of buzz it generated, I figure some of you just missed it, so I’m reposting it here. I frankly can’t understand why there’s not more vocal anger at this announcement.  If you don’t believe the Chancellor really means the threat on our campus, then you should be furious at him for lobbing this kind of grenade into contract negotiations while we’re supposed to be fighting side-by-side for our budgetary lives in the Legislature.  If you do believe he really means it, you should be fighting like all bloody hell to save the jobs of your sisters and brothers, if not your own.  –Seth
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Please forward this email to all members.  Steve

Colleagues,

We knew it was coming, but that still did not soften the blow last Friday when, at the negotiations table, the Chancellor’s Office confirmed the rumor that all fourteen of our universities would be sending out retrenchment notices for the 2012-13 academic year.

One might have reasonably expected that, given the context of Governor Corbett’s budget cuts and the need for all in our system to work together, that the Chancellor might, at least, delay this divisive and dispiriting initiative until the fog of the budget battle had cleared.   This would have been the rational path, the politically astute path, and the empathetic path for our students and the faculty.   They have, instead, moved precipitously.

Fortunately, our Association negotiated a CBA that protects us from impetuous administrative action.  The retrenchment notices do not mean that there will, necessarily, be retrenchment.  Under both Article 29 of our collective bargaining agreement and PASSHE’s internal guidelines, campus administrations (and the Office of the Chancellor [OOC]) are to begin the process by notifying the union of “any changes, including those involving curriculum and programs, which will lead to retrenchment.”  These notices fulfill these requirements.  We have been notified as to the possibility of retrenchment.


Thus, colleagues, we must fight on another front.  Amid the budget battle and negotiations, both on your campus and in Harrisburg, we will fight on another front.  There is no time to be panicked or discouraged.  Our state meet and discuss teams and your local meet and discuss teams are ready for these battles.  Our staff is ready.


With record enrollments for thirteen years, and years of budget surpluses, the universities are in a poor position to argue very vehemently that they need fewer faculty.  It belies logic and calculation.  The faculty is at the core of any serious academic mission, and we will never let them forget it.


We must remain diligent, steadfast, and united.  We will fight any attempt to retrench faculty with all the tools at our disposal, but our most effective resource continues to be our ability to stand together with our students in support of quality public higher education.  And, that we will do.


In Solidarity,


Steve

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Retrenchment, West Chester University

Change of Date for Chester County Rally for Public Education

As soon as I can make the technology work, I’ll post the flyer for Sen. Dinniman’s rally at the Chester County Courthouse, the date of which has MOVED–

New Date: Wed, April 27

So you can have Wed, April 20 back for yourselves, but the 27th?  We need you there.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Communities, K-12 Education, PASSHE, Penn State University, Public education, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, University of Pittsburgh, West Chester University

Common ground is fine, but it doesn’t guarantee fairness

By now you’ve probably seen the news out of State APSCUF of management’s announcement that they plan to issue retrenchment letters on all fourteen PASSHE campuses for the 2012-13 school year.

We’ll have plenty more to say about the specifics of that announcement and how we respond to it in the near future; it wasn’t entirely unexpected, but neither do we take it as anything other than hostile.

In the meantime, this morning’s Inside Higher Education features an article on a labor conference last week at which faculty union leaders and university managers got together to talk about how to find common ground from which to advance the mutual interests of universities and systems.

Ironically, the article mentions Pennsylvania specifically as an example of a place where faculty and management ought to fighting together against outrageous budget proposals–and it published one day after management announced that they may retrench faculty all across the system.

Knowing that managers in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and other places actually respect the faculty in their states made this announcement out of PASSHE even that much more toxic.  At a time when we should all be fighting desperately to win over legislators who can protect our budget, and we’re seeing examples of state system managers doing just that, instead the Office of the Chancellor (OOC) is firing shots across the bow.

So what does this mean for you as WCU faculty?  A few things:

1. If you haven’t already written letters and made phone calls to your legislators about the budget, do it NOW.  Our campus management has been with us on these efforts, but the OOC just isn’t.  Don’t wait around for PASSHE to do its thing–do it for them.

2.  Go to rallies and show your face: April 26 in Harrisburg; April 27 at the Courthouse in downtown West Chester; May 3 in Harrisburg.

3.  Continue to get ready for what now appears to be an even nastier negotiations season than we already expected.  Make sure your APSCUF reps know you to find you off-campus.  Try to put a little money aside in case of a job action.  Read the emails that come from State and Local APSCUF because they have information in them you need to know.

One last thing–it’s tempting to be (some combination of) scared, frustrated, and angry at the current state of affairs in our system.  Obviously I can’t dictate your emotional reactions, but I’ll make this pitch (which some of you have heard me say before).  In difficult times, the urge to panic, the urge to withdraw, and the urge to organize/mobilize are exactly the same.  MOBILIZE!  It’s a much healthier response.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Inside Higher Ed, PASSHE, Public education, Rally, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

APSCUF Scholarship information

Students–if you need money to help pay for school, especially if the Governor and Legislature ignore us and raise your tuition, you may be eligible for one of these scholarships!

We WANT to give money away (but only responsibly, of course).  Help us do it!

Faculty: Help spread the word.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Scholarships, Tuition increase, Uncategorized, West Chester University