We write this letter to you now to clarify SCFA’s position on the walkout of Sept 24 and to offer advice about how to handle it.
Although SCFA supports the UPTE strike and other unions’ support of UPTE, SCFA is not sponsoring or promoting the walkout for faculty on Sept 24, the first day of class. The main reasons: we are about to begin bargaining, and many faculty feel torn about whether to meet their students or walk out on the first day of class. SCFA chooses not to make a firm recommendation on a walk-out, given the very wide range of diverging opinion among our membership, and we strongly believe that the manner in which faculty express their position-whether by walking out or by teaching in-is a matter of individual conscience.
- We want to proceed with our bargaining strategy, which does not call at this point for a walkout or strike);
- we want to serve and support our students BOTH in the short term (in the courses we teach) and in the big picture (of working for quality and accessibility in their education);
- and we want to support and encourage other unions in their legitimate efforts to obtain fair employment.
To do these things, SCFA recommends an educational strategy. Those who opt to walk out can picket or participate in other activities organized to promote awareness. To those who opt to meet their classes and spending a portion of the class period discussing the issue with students, we recommend teaching from the core 2-page “Understanding California’s Financial Crisis,”authored by Keep California’s Promise and CUCFA and a new teach-in kit from SAVE U.C. you can download. More background is referenced by Senate Chair Lori Kletzer in her excellent letter to the Academic Senate (“Resources for Engaging in Faculty Furlough Discussions,” 9/8/09 on this webpage).
The SCFA is in close touch with the other unions, and they assure us that neither students nor faculty will be considered scabs if they cross the picket line to go to class. But they deeply appreciate the moral support that the SCFA and individual faculty members have been giving them and will be giving them, and they urge faculty to attend the rally and speeches that will occur at the base of campus on the 24th. Most speakers, several of them Academic Senate Faculty, will be speaking around midday.
See the box to the left for items in this issue of the SCFA newsletter.
Please write to us concerning your comments, opinions, and desire to participate more in shaping our collective activities. We work on behalf of all Senate Faculty at UCSC –but we would be pleased if you join now.
for the SCFA/AAUP Executive Board
A Profusion of Positions and Organizations
Many different organizations have opined on what UC faculty should do on September 24 and in general during the current fiscal and leadership crisis. These include the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), individual UC campus faculty associations (FAs), the umbrella Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA), and various movement organizations such as the Berkeley-based Save the University.
Many faculty are confused about SCFA’s position because of the AAUP letter supporting a UC faculty walkout. Here’s the deal: the AAUP letter expresses the position of the National AAUP and is directed to all of UC’s faculty. It does not take account of UCSC’s unique position of having a union that can bargain: SCFA. Moreover, many of the organizations calling for the walkout are not FAs but of other movement organizations, such as Save the University, which is based in Berkeley, and which have overlapping membership with their particular universities’ FAs. These conditions don’t invalidate their positions, but simply complicate their status as advisers to UCSC faculty. While no single organization speaks for UCSC faculty on the walkout, only SCFA can bargain for UCSC faculty.
The situation is confusing. We offer the following practical advice and clarification about students and our relations to other unions (see next items).
SCFA Practical Advice on Students
We advise you to communicate with your students prior to class about your plans for the 24th. This will be particularly critical as students may be confused about whether one professor’s walkout means all classes are canceled.
Many departments have orientations on September 22nd (an opportunity for communication with students). Members of several departments have called meetings of their colleagues for September 21st to discuss the issues together.
There are many creative ways to communicate with your students, outside departmental structures–from contacting City on A Hill, which has a blog which functions earlier than the print media, to downloading their emails from AIS, to posting the news on Facebook or Google Groups (ask your trusted students how to reach the largest number of new and students, and they will probably have some good ideas). We urge you not to penalize students who do not show up to the first day of class. They may well be torn themselves, wanting to go to class but also not wanting to cross a picket line. Guidance from you, beforehand, about your policies will be a favor to them.
Above all, we want our students to know that we are on their side and that the furlough-days furor is connected to shared governance issues and to the larger picture of trying to promote and preserve accessible and quality higher education in the great public university in California.
Faculty Who Go to Class are not Scabs
UPTE (the union for technical workers) has called a strike for their members for September 24 after filing a ULP (unfair labor practices charge). Other unions on campus such as CUE, ASCME, AFT, and GSA are supporting them and not crossing their picket line that day. They are holding a rally at the base of campus and will have speakers from all the unions plus some individual Academic Senate faculty. Also, some individuals from the Academic Senate faculty will be tabling there and distributing information.
We are in close touch with the other unions and they will not consider Academic Senate faculty members to be scabs if they cross picket lines to meet their classes. Why not? If anyone is aware of union rules, it is the other unions, and they are aware that the SCFA, as the only union for Academic Senate faculty in the UC system, is in a unique position and is at a different stage in its negotiations than is UPTE.They do appreciate any support that Senate faculty give them on September 24.
The SCFA supports other campus unions in their efforts to obtain fair employment practices from the University. Senate faculty need the work and the skills of the other unions in order to do our work of teaching, research, and service effectively. Other unions’ members’ specific issues are different from those of the SCFA, but the principles we hold together are overlapping and congruent.
|(We sent this letter in the last newsletter. Here it is again f.y.i)
An Open Letter to UC Faculty From the AAUP
We support the faculty’s collective assertion of their central role in shaping the future of the University of California, and we support the calls for collective action (most recently of a walkout) by UC faculty members to publicly voice their concerns. The UC system’s historic strength was embedded in substantial public financial support and a strong faculty voice in governance. Both have deteriorated to unacceptable levels. The rejection of the faculty’s unanimous voice about implementing furloughs, through a vote of the Academic Council on July 29, 2009, is at best unwise and at worst dismissive of a cornerstone of the UC system’s strength, its faculty. The principles of the American Association of University Professors hold that the managerial assertion of financial emergency powers does not justify failing to incorporate the full and meaningful participation of faculty in shared governance. Moreover, despite the current challenges higher education faces and as a recent resolution of the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress Executive Committee asserts, it is time to turn around decades-long patterns of decreased funding to and within the academy. The real challenge is to reverse long standing trends of:
* defunding public universities;
* shifting shares of institutional expenditures from education to administration;
* raising tuition and fees; and
* decreasing the proportion of tenure-track faculty.
For too many years university presidents have accepted and preached the pattern of public disinvestment as inevitable, advanced the privatization of public universities, and suggested that we can do more and more with less and less. By their actions, university presidents have advanced a model of academic capitalism that has compromised educational quality, and now that model is collapsing financially. It is well worth faculty considering taking some furlough time on instructional days. That sends a clear message that disinvestment in colleges and universities reduces the quality of education and does harm to students, faculty, and the public interest. It is time to acknowledge the obvious: this emperor has no clothes. Less public support does not translate into more educational opportunity. Escalating tuition does not increase educational access and success for qualified students. Increasing class size does not increase faculty-student engagement. Increasing virtual education does not increase actual educational quality. We support the lead taken by University of California faculty, the faculty associations, and faculty groups mobilizing independently in their fight to change the long term course of the UC system. Their collective votes and actions serve the best long-term interests of students, faculty, the universities and society. The faculty’s voice is central to the quality and future of our educational institutions. Gary Rhoades, General Secretary, AAUP
Cary Nelson, President, AAUP
Executive Committee, AAUP
Collective Bargaining Congress Executive Committee, AAUP