Taking a swing at the strike issue, I thought I missed wildly, claiming the majority of Carbondalliers, oppose
a faculty strike next week. But then I learned that one person voted 700 times! So the scientific basis of the poll is invalid. No matter. The majority of people I know are against the strike, even though they may disagree with Wendler or the administration's position.
So I may still take a picket sign to the front of Faculty Association headquarters and to Anthony Hall to let them know what I think. A group of 48 non-union faculty made their disapproval known in a letter released today to local news media, as reported in the Southern Illinoisan.
On the other hand, I do
support the FA's collective bargaining stance
and right of teachers to walk out of classes on Feb. 2, and I won't cross the picket line to "substitute" unless the university offers to pay me a lot of money and gives me a "blue" parking sticker--and a pass to the Recreation Center, and season tickets to Saluki basketball games, plus
a candy bar autographed by Kent Williams.
The looming strike has made everyone feel uneasy, both on and off campus (except the guy holding the placard above his head below.) A feeling of dread and confusion is palpable, like a coastal town at reports of an impending hurricane. Emergency preparations are being made. Calls have been out to Graduate Assistants to host classes off-campus
in solidarity with the striking faculty.
Off course, not all faculty will strike, but enough to put a serious dent into the reputation of Carbondale and Southern Illinois University. It appears to be in everyone's best interest if the strike were averted. But how? One "knowledgable insider" I spoke to says binding arbitration is the only way. It has worked in other cases, such as Major League Baseball, why not at SIU? Apparently the administration has refused this option, and it may be too late now. The Daily Egyptian
has an editorial about binding arbitration.
All in all, an excellent opportunity for Rod "Attaboy" Blagojevich
to fly in here in his new Governor's plane, meet with the principal negotiators, and help them--make them--agree on a new contract. Governor Rod has demonstrated himself capable of taking the bull by the horns in the first days of his administration by firing hundreds of former Gov. Ryan's handpicked appointees, but does the gov have the balls to put his reputation on the line on the court of higher education? Firing people is much easier than getting them to agree on disparate issues.
Will Gov. Rod answer the call? Does he realize how much a strike will suck for SIU and the Carbondale community?
And speaking of sucking, there's this sign held angrily aloft on Tuesday by a disgruntled SIU student (an Art major, I've been told).
Let's hope it wasn't Graphic
Arts. The kid may have a point.