Employee Questions Joint Forum As Venue For Union Discussion
April 16, 2008
Editor’s note: the forum scheduled for April 16 was postponed. No
date has been set.
Letter to the editor:
We have two important developments that are unfolding for UNH employees. The
first is a proposed joint forum sponsored by the UNH councils. The second is
the upcoming visit (on April 24 and April 25) by staff from campuses across
the United States who are part of AFSCME staff unions.
Apparently there was to have been a joint forum for PAT, OS and Extension
Educator staff. The PAT Council minutes published in the 4/9 CJ mentioned a
that “staff members can ask questions re: the staff unionization efforts.” It
is unclear whether there will or won’t be a forum because many of us
haven’t received any specific notice of such a forum from the councils.
Beyond the lack of publicity, there are questions about the format of the councils’ efforts. “Answers
to the questions will be researched and responded to at a late date.” Why
aren’t we having a discussion re unionization instead of a bunch of discrete
questions with no immediate answers? And who’s doing the researching
and the responding?
How about this as an alternative idea? Why doesn’t the PAT Council (and
the other councils, too) sponsor small, district meetings so that we can talk
with one another about what it means to form a union. And, for those of us
who have done a lot of thinking and research about this, we’ll be able
to answer a lot of the questions, right then and there, from our heads and
from our hearts. UNH staff answering questions from other UNH staff; UNH staff
talking to other UNH staff. No time delays.
And what about this? If the PAT Council (and the other councils) can organize
these meetings on April 24 or April 25, we’ll be able to include the
visiting staff from other colleges and universities who have formed AFSCME
unions. We’ll be able to discuss issues and ask questions of staff who
are already unionized: staff from the Ohio State University, the University
of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Massachusetts,
and other US campuses. And, I know that they’ll be able to answer your
questions right away, too. No time delays.
Let’s all ask our council reps to organize discussion groups. Not Q/A
sessions where no one is prepared to answer the questions. And, if your PAT
or OS or Extension council or rep can’t organize a discussion group,
please do check in with me or any other UNH staff member who has been working
on the union effort. We’ll come to your lunchrooms or conference rooms
and talk about ideas, issues and concerns that are on your minds and ours.
No time delays.
And on April 24 and 25, take a moment or two to talk with staff from the
other campuses across the United States who will be here to share their stories
answer your questions or concerns about AFSCME. They’ve been through
the unionization process and they can talk from experience. No time delays.
You know how to get in touch with your council reps. Here’s my home email,
if you’d like to get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a nice day.
Office of Sponsored Research
25+ years at UNH