By now, many of you have read of Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus lock-out, which may well turn out to be one of the most anti-union attacks on a faculty in modern times. The ploy at LIU is, in effect, to hire scabs and empower non-faculty to administer courses based on syllabi collected by the administration via Blackboard.
The cynical gambit at LIU will ultimately fail because it takes much more than “content”, a learning management system and a syllabus to foster excellence. We know from for-profit, distance education institutions that courses proctored (not taught) by poorly paid and unsupported instructors have terrible completion rates. And if the lock-out proceeds for a significant length of time, LIU could damage their “brand” (i.e., reputation) and become a corporate degree mill to be shunned and ridiculed.
I very much doubt that the Chancellor would have much to gain by using this rare (but increasingly prevalent) tactic against APSCUF in our current situation. A management lock-out would prove that the Chancellor cares more about saving money than delivering a high-quality education, and would warn potential new faculty hires to look elsewhere if they want a secure career that keeps pace with the cost of living.
If you are not sure whether playing defense against a lock-out is better than preparing for a strike, consider the power of taking a strike authorization vote.
- A vote for strike authorization demonstrates that the faculty stands solidly behind its bargaining team. It is a vote for fair raises, affordable healthcare, and continued shared governance.
- A vote for strike authorization sends a resounding message that we stand for the quality of our universities, and that hiring and retaining the best faculty is the best way to ensure the excellence of our institutions.
- A vote for strike authorization publicly declares the faculty’s solidarity and resolve to the Chancellor, the BOG, the Legislature, the Governor, our students and their families.
- A vote for strike authorization demonstrates your strong support for the collective bargaining process on our campus. Not very long ago, the Weisenstein administration paid an outside consultant via the WCU Foundation to lobby faculty strenuously to support secession from PASSHE. Thankfully, they failed. This move could have turned us into an institution much more like Long Island University, and without the strong protections of APSCUF.
This Labor Day, please take a moment to reflect that every page of your CBA was written thanks to 30+ years of your colleagues regularly stepping up and arguing for your rights and for the betterment of the bargaining unit. Then join with me on September 7 – 9 by voting YES for Strike Authorization.