Our most frequent correspondent helps rescue the blog from summer inertia with some reflections on the current conflict over the actual language of the contract:
I confess that, as I began reading your post, I was sceptical. What sort of dolt, I thought to myself, would imagine that the marginalia was part of the “offer”? That would be like thinking that the various quotes by prominent politicians which spice up my well-thumbed copy of “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms: A Guide for Canadians” were part of the fundamental law of our country.
Besides, I muttered (again to myself), the decision to vote for that offer was so ill-informed, unreflective and lacking in good judgement that we probably deserve everything we get. (Me bitter? You betcha!)
To be bamboozled is one thing, but to actively endorse the imposition of a Collective Agreement (sort of) is an act of betrayal of ourselves, our students and ultimately our society.
Of course, it goes without saying that management will use any ruse, any deception and any bully tactic it can dredge up in order to erode geologically and eviscerate biologically and faculty rights and aspirations that it can (that’s what management DOES), but for us to get incensed when they do their job well while we behave like lambs to the slaughter is adding insult (ours) to insult (theirs) to the injuries of the (maybe) Collective Agreement.
As I moved along, however, I was increasingly persuaded that your arguments were sound, and that there really is just cause for complaint. (Your report of management’s “flip-flop” on whether the marginalia were or were not part of the offer sealed the case.)
Whether the Union position will yield any practical benefit in terms of this particular agreement is uncertain. We may hope, however, that an understanding of management’s egregious and apparently successful efforts at intimidation and manipulation will eventually penetrate the skulls of the folks who were hoodwinked into voting FOR this monstrosity (or were simply too timid to act decisively in their own and everyone else’s interest). We may hope that the events of this past year will be a “learning experience” and that they will not be so naively trusting of management again.
So, next time! Maybe next time … we will do the right thing. Of course, there is some blame to be spread around. It wouldn’t hurt for, for example, for the Union to anticipate the inevitable, start Local programs of education and mobilization, and put an end to management’s nearly 100% control of communication during the dead time between rounds of negotiation. A well-organized and well-informed membership would go a long way toward avoiding the fiasco of the past year.