New Contract Proposal Discussion

Maybe you, like me, were surprised to find a letter from Perry in your mailbox about a tentative contract agreement between the Union and District Office (along with a brief description, ballot and envelope for voting). If it hasn’t arrived in your mail yet, it probably will on Monday. In the meantime, the relevant documents are all posted on the HWC Chapter Website.

Jesú and others have reasonably requested that all discussion about the contract be restricted to that website since it has privacy settings, and I completely agree (for now, at least).

Everyone represented by Local 1600, though, should go to the site today and check out the proposal and the ongoing discussion of it there. If you have trouble with the site, here is the info you need:

“To gain access to the site, you need to be a member of the Google group, which requires you to have accepted an invitation to join. You can get your invitation by sending your non-CCC email address to Héctor at hr.reyes13@gmail.com.

If you have contacted us about joining the group but are not receiving the communications please be aware that you need to accept the invitation first. We have about two dozen invitations pending. Please check your spam folder if you have not received the invitation email.”

Perry is expected to attend the Union meeting on Thursday (August 30th) in room 1115 from 2 to 4:30pm. Jesú may also call another meeting for Tuesday to discuss the contract proposal among ourselves.

 

25 thoughts on “New Contract Proposal Discussion

  1. Hi PhiloDave- I was just about to email you and request a forum where we could begin discussing this. I was hoping we could do it here, for several reasons, first of which is that there isn’t a lot of time to wait to be invited to the group and I am not confident that people will go there as much as they come here.

    I have so many questions, ranging from mild confusion to full-blown panic. Thursday is a bit late since the responses need to be counted by the 1st (2 days later). Why the rush? Don’t we need time to discuss this?

    I am fairly confident that faculty need to discuss this “Student Success Merit Pay” piece? It is entirely unclear from the mail what this is going to look like and how it is going to be distributed.

    Do we need privacy settings to discuss the contract?

    • I agree completely. That which was private was the fact that this proposed contract was being negotiated and that a response would be needed so quickly. It was my impressikn from the last union meeting that negotiations were not going well and that we should prefer for a long fight. I dont want a strike or a long fight, but we need more information …in writing…on which to base our decisions? Also, why can’t we discuss this here?

      The information provided is rather thin and non-descript. The verbiage is unclear, specifically the information on the change to the lane and salary structure, which will impact a number of faculty without terminal degrees? Also, what counts as a terminal degree? The answer is quite different depending on the campus… Furthermore, what of the wellness plan in which we must agree to participate? The details of the plan were shared with the non-bargained for employees, why not us? Moreover, the merit pay for student success…uhmmm…a committee will be established to avoid grade inflation??? What about assurances that the committee will not intrude upon issues of academic freedom and that these metrics will not be used in contract renewal and post-tenure evaluations? Finally, returning to what’s not in the proposed contract…proposed salary schedules for all years, which outline clearly the expected salaries and the three lane structure; clarification on removal of steps; and, a host of other items I am certain others will note here.

    • I’ve been thinking about this, Jen, and I’m still not sure I have an answer. Maybe we do need (or at least some people need) privacy settings to discuss our positions on the contract and its pieces. I think there’s some value to those deliberations and discussions taking place among ourselves privately (as a group or a bunch of small groups), out of earshot of the party with whom we are negotiating.

      At the same time, though, I think there’s value to be had in trying to make those discussions as effective and efficient as possible by seeking and gaining clarification on as much as possible before evaluative conversation.

      I’m not sure how to make it all work, though.

  2. The reason that the window is so small for approval is that the Mayor needs a pr spin for the start of the school year on Sept. 4. That is, the only reason that we’re getting a contract this (relatively) good is strictly politics. My instinct says that if we reject it, we’ll lose the political advantage that we have now and will not get as (relatively) good an offer next spring.

    Also, from my understanding, the negotiations WEREN’T going well but, again, with what is going on between the CTU and CPS, our union was approached about a deal.

    For those who have been at Reinvention can attest, much of the work there was (is) being done to weaken our contract and insert language that would remove cherished rights such as post-tenure evaluation and loss of seniority (for both professionals and faculty). None of that is in this contract offer. The language stays the same.

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised it’s as good as it is. We still keep our amazing summer, overtime, and substitute pay, our health care costs barely change over five years (13% to 16%) and we get one full step in the first year.

    The loss of steps is really no big deal. Every year after the first we’ll get a 2.5% increase, compounded. In years 2 and 3, we have the chance for an additional 1% “bonus” using student success indicators (to be determined by a joint union-adm committee). (Remember, an earlier proposal floated out of Reinvention was to give us a base salary only and have the opportunity to earn a “raise” tied to student success; this offer is much better.)

    Is it perfect? No. Contracts rarely are. However, globally, it is very good, especially with the times in which we live. Could we get a better contract if we reject this one and go back to the bargaining table? Very doubtful. The union-busting law firm that the CCC hired (Franczek Radelet) was not on this round of negotiations; it will be if we go back to negotiations.

    • Interesting perspective. So what I hear you suggesting is that we have more leverage now, before the CTU/CPS resolution than we would after?

      Also, that many things we love remain in the contract, and the steps going away are a wash. Also, that this is the best offer we’ll get because the big, bad, union breaking lawyers are not yet unleashed (but will be).

      So, we should take this one.

      Yes?

      Interesting.

      I have some questions, though–I wonder what our agreement to such a contract would do to CTU/CPS negotiations. I also wonder how the new lanes would work. Where would current lane placement go? And why would we want to say yes to giving away lane changes for non-Ph.D’s? How would initial placement on the pay scale work if there aren’t steps? Why are they getting rid of the Distinguished Professor Award? And don’t they always hire big, bad, union busting law firms? Isn’t that what we heard last time? And in 2004 when we actually went out on strike? Thinking critically about your suggestion that our leverage is highest now, I wonder if we might not have more, rather than less, negotiating leverage as the CTU/CPS situation develops. Seems to me that the Mayor is faced with a very strong union at the moment and a lot of not very good situations (between the violence and the dysfunctional schools leadership team and and a public (at least in the city) that is (broadly) sympathetic to teachers. At any rate, I wonder why we’d want to get out in front of their negotiations and (potentially) undercut them. I wonder why we’d want to endorse AT ALL the idea of merit pay of any sort given that we’d be generally agreeing to pay bonuses on the basis of things that are entirely out of our control (unless they aren’t, in which case, we’re opening a huge door for perverse incentives).

      I’m not saying I’m against the proposal. At least not yet. But I do have a lot of questions–starting with whether or why we should agree to be the Mayor’s evidence of the CTU’s unreasonableness? I really hate the idea of undercutting them for the short term benefit of us, in particular those who are retired and near retirement. It seems to me like a very good contract for the very senior faculty and a hosing, again, for the newest members, which, at Harold Washington, is most of the current faculty. Why be Judas to CTU unless you think they’re bound to lose?

      These are some of my questions. I hope that we’ll get some answers this week.

      Also, no offense, but I have my questions about anyone posting anonymously on a topic like this. I certainly understand why it might be necessary/attractive, but I’m sure you can understand why it’s fair to take anonymous opinions on topics like this with a grain of salt/skepticism.

  3. Agreed. I didn’t realize that it would be anonymous until after I hit post (thought my email would be viewed) and then had to run get dinner for the wee ones. It’s Todd from Daley. (Also, the other names are “Curious George” and “Jen” so I guess I could create a user name.)

    The big question is: are we going to get a better deal after this window closes? Are we ready to have, ahem, a work-related action in the fall? I walked in 2004 and will again but do we have to get to that point?

    Re: Lane reduction from four to three: it definitely affects me as I will never get a Ph.D. Additionally, I’m at 48 hrs beyond my M.A. and am taking six hours this semester, three next, leaving me at the grand total of… 57 hours, just three shy of the magical Lane IV. However, if one is currently anywhere below 45 hours, they would be put in Lane I no matter where they are, thus having an opportunity, at least once, to get the 11% raise.

    So, on a personal level, this contract isn’t for me from the Lane Advancement aspect. Should I vote “no” because it affects me negatively in one aspect? I also wanted to see stronger language regarding CDL. But once we start looking at the “small” stuff, then they could, too, and it then would have become a full-blown negotiation.

    I prefer to look at the whole.

    Re: Distinguished Professor awards. Well, let’s just say that it doesn’t function as smoothly as it does at HWC, Mr. Distinguished Prof. 😉

    • Your big question is a good one, Todd; I’m certainly not eager for a repeat of that experience. I hear you on the Lane thing, too. I’m in Lane 3 and probably stuck there for life. If this goes through, I have a new motivation to pick up a few extra credits to get into Lane 2.

      But I look back on my first ten years and those two lane changes were pretty big. If I were a new hire under the new version, I’d have received neither. So for new people, it seems to be a harsher pill to swallow than for us.

      I agree on CDL, too, and I can’t do much but smile at that last line. I know it’s true, but it seems a shame that they can’t keep it. It’s a pretty demoralizing job on a lot of days–it’s nice to recognize each other (and a powerful experience to be recognized).

      With that said, the big picture is key and, like you, I was surprised at what I saw. It’s good too for us to remember that the perspective on the pieces is likely to be very different from college to college.

      Thanks, too, for your patient response to my pushback. Good luck this week. I’m sure you’ll be busy…

  4. Since I am a retired faculty member, I am interested in knowing what the contract details are.
    I requested access to the HWC Chapter web site, but so far no answer. Why?

    • Send me an email from your home account (to philodave@earthlink.net) and I can forward you copies of what came in the mail.

      Hopefully, Hector or someone will get you on the site soon, though.

  5. Hi Anonymous, I am Jen (Asimow). Everyone on this campus calls me Jen- the name I go by….
    I just read the letter from Wright. What do you think of their arguments?
    The loss of the HMO option is a big one for those of us with families. I have had the HMO option since I began at HWC 12 years ago and 5 years prior to that at my previous job. This will be a huge financial adjustment for me and my family. It is at least worth a discussion.
    I don’t really understand the 200 sick days. Sounds good if you are retiring by 2014 but it sounds bad for the rest (the vast majority) of us? If someone can explain this clearly, including a description of how it applies to enhancement, it would be greatly appreciated.
    I appreciate the level-headedness of this conversation. Anyone out there who can answer clarifying questions? I look forward to your responses.

    • Jen, I’m the Chapter Chair at Daley so I’ve been getting a lot of questions. (Also, we don’t have anything like The Harold Lounge so that’s why I’m here – thank you HWC folks.)

      Re: HMO. We DON’T lose HMO, just HMO Illinois in which a very few of our members participate. We still have BC/BS HMO Blue Advantage (of which my family and I are members). It isn’t very clear on the sheet so I clarified.

      Re: Sick days. Yeah, that’s one of those things that are going by the wayside in most negotiated contracts for educators. If you are in the Traditional Plan with SURS, you can use 180 days to “buy back” one year at 2.2%. If you are in the Self-Managed Plan like I am, then, in the words of Hawk Harrellson, “they gone.”

      However, being able to bank up to 200 is good in case of major illness or family emergency – you can get paid during that time if you have the sick days.

      Gotta run; hope this helps. Please direct me to the Wright College letter; I don’t know where to find it. Or forward it to tlakin@local1600.org. Thanks.

  6. Can anyone attend the HWC’s meeting because I’m not sure if there is one at my campus

    • I think so. You won’t be able to vote with us, but I think any and all are welcome to attend. Bring an ID just in case, but it should be fine.

  7. Read the union mailing. Tons of questions that will probably not be answered by union leadership. Felt like I was being sold a used arc with holes in it during the heart of a Biblical flood.

  8. Hi all, this is Todd Lakin from Daley College. I appreciate the opportunity to join in the conversation. Afterall, the Harold Lounge does advertise “A place for HWC (and CCC) Faculty to Congregate.” 😉

    Yesterday Perry Buckley came to Daley to speak to the contract offer and answer questions. After having a night to think about and a good long bike ride to Northeastern for my class this afternoon, I would like to share with you some thoughts that I have regarding the contract offer.

    1. The mayor wants a ‘yes’ vote on this contract; Cheryl Hyman does not. This is the key to understanding WHY we’re getting the offer that we’re getting. If we vote “No,” then Hyman gets to unleash the dogs. If we vote “No” then we are playing into her hands, plain and simple. She’s counting on a “No” vote.

    2. I don’t know what will be in 2018 (when this contract would expire), but I do know what it’s going to be like a year from now – why take that risk? Sometimes it’s more prudent to circle the wagon and live to fight another day.
    —In 2018, there WILL BE a new Chancellor, most likely a reconstituted Board of Trustees and seven different Presidents.
    —Quite possibly there will be a different mayor.
    —However, in 2013, all the key players will still be in place but we will not have the political opening that we have now.

    3. We have to think globally about this offer. In today’s climate, this is a very good offer. The few give-backs do not warrant a “No” vote; what we keep and what we’ve put into abeyance for 5 more years – when the political and economic climate will be different – are HUGE.
    —Union-bashing is still in vogue. Just look north to Wisconsin or east to Indiana. And in today’s paper Standard & Poor’s just downgraded the state of Illinois from A+ to A for borrowing. The so-called pension crisis will heat up again. This is not the time to pick a fight.
    —We get to keep our summer pay, overtime pay and subsitute pay. If we say “No” now, that pay scale WILL NEVER come back, no matter how long we strike. The lawyers for the CCC are combing through all the suburban contracts to make a “compare and contrast” chart that will show to the general public that the administration is being reasonable and that we, the striking faculty, are the unrealistic ones. We can’t win this one.
    —We actually have a meaningful raise because the health care costs go up MINIMALLY from 13% to 16% of cost over FIVE years. In other words, in other places that have settled for a small raise actually lose it because their health care costs have doubled or even tripled (see Oakton Faculty and Prairie State Faculty). Plus our prescription drug benefits, co-pays and the like are the same as they were in 2004.
    —We get to keep…:
    +++++++district-wide seniority
    +++++++post-tenure evaluation stays the same as it is now
    +++++++librarians are still faculty
    +++++++the four-day work week (don’t think for a second that this issue won’t be on the table if we go into protracted contract negotiations; administrators HATE that we only have to be there four days)

    4. We elect leaders for a reason: to lead us and to look out for our best interests. Perry is privvy to information that we don’t have access to. We have to trust in his judgement that this is the BEST deal we’re going to get.
    —In 2004, barely three months into his first term as president, he led us out on a three-week strike, which we won. We held the line for a good contract.
    —In 2007, a year in advance, he negotiated a contract with then-Chancellor Watson. He urged a “Yes” vote and, while there was some resistance, it passed overwhelmingly. In hindsight, what with the economic downturn and all, it has been an EXCELLENT contract.
    —Now, in 2012, also a year in advance, our president is asking us to trust his judgement and approve this contract offer.

    The more I think about it, the more resolute I am about casting a “Yes” vote. This isn’t a bad contract and, given the political/economic/social climate, it’s a good one. We would be so very foolish to reject it.

    • This sounds strangely familiar, Todd. Almost like I’ve heard this somewhere before…where could I have heard these same points…hmmm…while I ponder that one, I hope you’ll allow me a point by point:

      1) What’s your evidence for this? Ah! I just remembered where I’d heard this. Perry says it. So it must be true. I’m not quite saying that it isn’t. I am absolutely positive that the Mayor wants a deal from us. I’m not entirely sure that’s a reason to say yes. That our Chancellor supposedly does NOT want this deal also seems to me somewhat irrelevant unless her position with City Hall will be strengthened by not getting one, which seems, if the other facts are true, to be unlikely.

      2) Either the future is unpredictable or it is predictable, but not both, right? So, while if we are to take you seriously when you say that you don’t know what will happen five years from now, we ought to dismiss your predictions about five years from now or dismiss the first and accept the second. Either way, though, your predictions are predicated on the assumption of things being better (a more reasonable Chancellor, board, set of Presidents, etc.) rather than less. Could be worse then. Could be better. Who knows? Not me. Seems like an irrelevant point, though, begging the question of what the current situation is. Does anyone have the sense that the Chancellor/Board is a City Hall favorite? If so, they’re keeping quiet about it. Does anyone think that the Mayor is in a stronger position now with respect to the voters, the unions, or the public than he was a year ago? Not an opinion I’ve seen a lot of. Does anyone think he’ll be stronger after the teachers go out? I wonder if we’ll have a bigger political opening in 2013 than we have now–he’ll be halfway through his first term, possibly bloodied by a teacher’s strike after woefully overplaying his hand with them, probably on his second Education CEO by then, if not third, probably still negotiating with police, probably on his second chief, amid what has been devastating violence, fire negotiations, which will be uglier than ours, without a casino…I’m not saying we’ll have a better environment then (“Who knows?”), but I wonder, “What’s the rush?” ESPECIALLY when placing this gift box in his lap is a big old poop sandwich for our fellow Chicago teachers. It seems as likely to be better for us in a year or two than now as it is to be worse. Why not wait it out and NOT undercut the CTU?

      3. The devil is in the details, right? Thinking globally is great when we’re talking about globes, but not so great if we’re talking about particulars. With respect to other places and future climates, see #2. With respect to what we get to keep, those are things we should get to keep, although giving up some of our joke of a post tenure evaluation is not something I’d object to. It’s an embarrassment. Regardless though–that we don’t give it up in this proposal is not evidence that we’d have to give it up in the future. One might even argue that our giving up the other things in this deal makes those things MORE vulnerable in the future since they won’t have to go after the things we’re willingly giving up (and by that I mean for our future colleagues). This would be the third of the four contracts I’ve worked under wherein the leadership made a deal that served the interests of current union members (especially senior and retired) on the backs of new and future members, setting the stage for future, inevitable, give-aways. Ubi est mea, seems to be the working motto.

      4. That we hope they will look out for our interests does not mean that they do. We do not have to trust in his, or anyone else’s, judgment. Being an adult means making one’s own judgments, as I’m sure you know. I’m happy to hear informed opinions–yours included, and I sincerely thank you for sharing it, even if I disagree with it. At the same time, I am deeply suspicious of the framing that you and Perry have put on this decision, as I am with any sort of fear mongering, especially when it is tied to claims about an uncertain future.

      You and others might be right–saying no to this contract may lead to us having to say yes to a contract that is worse (which I heard Perry seem to define, pretty consistently, as “lower raises”–as if any contract with high raises were a good one), but that is not how I define my terms. Saying no to this one may lead to lower raises in the next one, but we may be able to keep some things that have proven very, very good, especially to our newest and most vulnerable colleagues. We may also be able to change some things that are long term problems with our current contract, things that have been “kicked down the road” for 15 years or more. I’m cool with that. I’d take less money and a better contract and the pride of not undercutting the CTU than the 30 pieces of silver that this deal represents.

  9. Good evening, Spartacus. I am absolutely in agreement with you regarding the waste at the CCC District office. I hope that Carol Marin et al can continue to question the spending practices at D.O. Faculty Council can continue to push for changes and the union, once this contract is (hopefully) settled, will pick up the proverbial mantle.

    Having said that, supporting this contract and wanting a better future for the students of the CCC are mutually exclusive. In other words, we can get a decent contract – just look at what is going on throughout Cook County and the rest of Illinois – and still advocate for our students.

    You write about Perry thinking that our union “will lose the popular vote.” You continue, “District loses the vote for popular opinion.” While in your mind (and mine) this may be true (corruption! cronyism! patronage!), it is true. The average tax payer truly is not interested in our “epic” struggle. Just look at Scott Walker in Wisconsin. I was in Door County this summer and saw more anti-union/pro-Walker signs in trailer parks and dilapidated farms than you would think possible. The anti-union sentiment runs deep, especially during an economic downturn.

    Imagine the spin during a strike next Fall: “Here’s what we offered them and they rejected it. Here’s what we’re offering now (cue the visuals showing the offer compared to our suburban counterparts) and still they refuse. They don’t work Fridays; they only have to be on campus 35 hours/week…”

    While we know the real story, try as we might it won’t get out.

    • I would hope that our Union would be out in front of that, starting with this weekend if necessary. Certainly one of our most talented communicators would not cede the battle before it’s even joined, would he?

      Door County is pretty expensive acreage. I can’t say that surprises me much. I hunt deer in Southwest Wisconsin–mining and dairy country–and there were far more Recall signs than not.

      Of course, anecdotes are not data.

      Wisconsin is an interesting place. It’s hard to say whether the fact that he won was because the people agreed with his policies or whether they thought the Recall was a hassle and a waste. At the very least it is a much more evenly divided state than Illinois.

  10. PhiloDave,

    I don’t see where this contract offer is bad to newer and/or our “most vulnerable” members. What were bad to newer members were the first two contract offers under which I worked (beginning in 1998) – I never voted for those contracts. In fact, the first contract that I voted for was the one that ended the strike in 2004.

    In those earlier contracts the loads were split into three tiers: 12/12; 12/15 and 15/15. Senior members were grandfathered on EVERYTHING, screwing the recently hired. I could go on and on about the badness of those contracts, but I’m not seeing bad for a few in this one except the change of lanes and loss of sick-day payouts.

    And regarding your opening paragraph and comment, “Where have I heard this before…?” Rather snarky, no? Let me tell you how it came about. While I should have been studying for class (I’m on sabbatical this fall at NEIU), I chose to type a repsonse to the numerous questions that I have from my members at Daley. A few colleagues around the district asked for my opinion as well. So I typed up what I thought were the most salient, rational points about why we should agree to this contract. I received no direction from anyone (read: the Union leadership) and simply put into words how I read the proverbial tea leaves.

    Take it for what it is. No secret, hidden agenda. I’ve put my name to everything I’ve written (unlike a number of contributors to this and other blogs). I stand by what I write and what I say.

    We’ll see how it goes on Saturday.

    • Rather snarky, yes, I suppose. I believe it is your opinion, Todd. It is amazingly consistent with what I and HW heard from Perry today. I understand that it is your response, and did not mean to imply otherwise. And the framing, the sourcing, and the fallacy are all of a piece. Still, I apologize for the snark. If we were talking in a bar, I would have hoped to get a laugh from you with the opening.

      You read me right–lanes, steps, and sick days are all problems (I think the lane changes are a huge problem for future members; I’ve had two lane changes in my first 9 years. I had to take some classes to do it, but 9 hours were covered by CCC. Those meant meaningful payraises that were compounded by later steps. It means that ten years into my career, I’m making significantly more than when I was hired. It won’t go up much more because I probably won’t make that last lane change, but I won’t need it to go up as much over the next 10 years as I did over the first ten. By comparison, were the new contract rules in place, I’d have started higher, but ten years later it would have gone up much less. In fact, it’d be unlikely that I’d have pursued 15 of the hours, which would leave me at Masters plus 15, which is about $16,000 and 10 classes away from a lane change. Such a contract would make me even more dependent on the year to year raises and more than a little jealous of my colleagues who have Ph.D.s, which are great degrees, but they are preparation for doing research and scholarship and not necessarily makers of better teachers. Seems a little unfair to me.

      Second, without the steps what leverage would any incoming person have except one with a job? I would have taken (and did) anything they offered me because I wanted the job so badly and knew how many other people did, too. We’re counting on the good will of the administration (or the willingness of the candidate to walk away) if the negotiations are unreasonable? “Here’s a kick in the pants on your way in.”

      Sick days don’t surprise me at all, but I’m told that some other colleges close by allow their faculty to use them in other ways. To take a semester leave and use 90 at a time. Given the rates that we pay our adjuncts, the additional cost to the budgeted cost would have been nominal. Other schools do it; why not us? I would have hoped for a little more creativity.

      I heard a lot at the presentation about what we have that other schools don’t. Surely there are things that other schools have that we don’t. Didn’t hear anything about those. My complaint with both was about the framing at least as much as the content, and the total lack of discussion about how this plays out for the CTU, which is the elephant in the room. We know the Mayor wants a win. Preferably announceable on Labor Day (or just before). Giving him one has certain implications. We heard about their reading of how making this deal works to our benefit, exclusively. We heard nothing about the drawbacks of doing this to our fellow union. I hoped for a thoughtful discussion on that, since screwing the teachers by doing this deal is my #1 concern about this proposal. I understand putting it to a vote, but I don’t like anything about the way that it was done–from the timeline to the potential impact to the misleading and incomplete information provided to the presentation and fear mongering of it.

      We will indeed see how it goes Saturday. I’d be surprised if it were voted down, but I hope it is. Either way, though, I’m sure the world will keep turning.

      Finally, I sincerely appreciate your willingness to sign your stuff. Like you, I’ve signed everything I’ve written, and think that on topics like these, with rare and limited exceptions, anonymity does more to distract than help. You’re welcome here any time.

      • Oh, and one more thing–a $400,000 budget line that we’re never going to see touched replacing a $35,000 budget line that we see distributed annually along with peer recognition–the only such opportunity for it–seems like a bad deal to me, too.

        For all of us.

        I hate that Distinguished Professor goes away in this contract.

        If it doesn’t work smoothly at some places, then that’s on those places to get it right. It hasn’t always been smooth at HWC, but we’ve recognized some really great people over the years before this one whose accolades (and $5000 bonus money) were well earned and deserved.

        I’ve had the pleasure of nominating a few people over the years, which has been meaningful even when they didn’t win.

        I hope that the Union will try to keep it alive, even if it isn’t in the contract.

        It’s a shame that it may go out of the contract.

        • Jealousy of faculty with PhDs and the pleasure of nominating someone for a distinguished faculty award (the criteria for which are inconsistently applied, even on the same campus let alone across all seven)? Is this really the state of our discussion? Come on. Some of us have real concerns about the contract AND the future of our families. If we refuse to approve this contract and we end up on strike…do you know that our insurance coverage might be compromised during the strike period? This happened in 2004 and was devastating for those members who had need of insurance but no money to pay COBRA. I was not one of them but many of my colleagues were and that was a REAL consequence of the inability to negotiate fairly and remain focused on the real issues of the contract.

          I am not saying that the above is a reason to immediately approve the proposed contract; however, let’s at least look at the very real and personal consequences to both sides of the debate. Let’s not focus on bourgeois concerns like public opinion, the differing levels of education among faculty (as someone with a PhD, I am SO tired of faculty with masters or multiple masters or masters and bajillion graduate hours proclaiming that the PhD doesn’t make you a better teacher…uhm, how would you know? You don’t have one! Education level attainment and experience should be fairly compensated. Period. But I digress, which is easy to do…my apologies for own bourgeois rant), etc. Let’s not focus on whether or not to trust the chancellor, the mayor or the union president…all of whom are clearly motivated by some interests that don’t really jibe with most of us.

          The point of this vote is not a vote on the CCC; the future of education and tenure; the politics of and relationship between the chancellor and the mayor; the future of faculty who have yet to even be hired…it IS about the next five years and the working conditions of the current members, including those who have one income, may have children, don’t have ample savings, have lived through one strike that, excuse me, sucked for anyone with less than 10 years in the system, and who want to live their lives without the constant teeth gnashing and fist poundings about the corruption of the CCC and Chicago…uhm…duh?!

          • I have no doubts that some people have “real concerns about the contract AND the future of our families.” I would put myself in that category.

            The Ph.D. comment is a red herring. I didn’t say that having a Ph.D wouldn’t make me a better teacher. It might. But I know from 11 years of teaching and four years as chair and nine years of doing observations of teachings that a Ph.D. is neither necessary nor sufficient as a condition for excellent teaching. I also know, again from experience and observation, that some would be teachers were actually bad because of their Ph.D. experience–they’d become so immersed in the details that they couldn’t remember what it was like to be an indifferent, unknowing newbie to the field. The Faculty of Yale recognized the same thing in 1828. That you’re tired of hearing it doesn’t make it false.

            That said, I agree that differing levels of education among faculty should be fairly compensated. That happens through initial placement on different lanes and steps. From there, a year teaching is a year teaching is a year teaching. After 15 ten years of teaching, a Ph.D would would be rewarded for their teaching experience in a way that someone who has done the same work would not. I see that as a problem.

            I don’t want a strike either; I was in the last one and hated every minute of it. The people who walked us into that terrible situation, and lied to us throughout it, are the people who are asking us to believe them now. I’m not persuaded that a No on this proposal means a strike in two years. Two years ago, the Tea Party flipped the House. This year it looks like it may go back the other way. Two years is a long time. Presenting as certain what isn’t is the same thing as lying.

            Vote how you want. Vote according to your situation. If you’d like me to take into account your financial situation in my vote, go ahead and tell me so, along with everything that I need to know in order to do so. Don’t assume that I’m not doing the same, though, or that because we disagree about one concern that I’ve listed out of about eight, one that I’ve identified as minor relative to others, that all of my concerns are merely predicated on class pretensions, nor that a single point added to the discussion is “the state of the discussion.”

            You sound frustrated. Fair enough. I think a lot of us are. I know I am. To help with that, I will just say that my vote and concerns are informed by my belief that acting in a narrow self interest is what leads to the Tragedy of the Commons. If we all try to get ours without any view of a larger picture, we’re all screwed. Ultimately I think we’re probably trying to make the same calculation with imperfect information. Good luck with your decision.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s