We were all told via the ‘Ithacan’ (Grace Elletson, Feb. 8) that “For the contingent faculty union to hold a strike, a simple majority of contingent faculty at the college, collectively, is needed to approve the action, they (Union leaders) said.” To rephrase: a simple majority of all contingents is needed. An adjunct faculty friend of mine, himself a Faculty Forward organizer, was told the same thing by one of the other leaders. I was even told by an SEIU worker, two weeks prior that 2/3 of all contingent were needed. The entire college community received no other information about how the vote would be decided. Those who opposed the authorization could conclude that a NO vote and a no-show were equal in the vote: so why bother to make an appearance in a very visible public place, when simply not voting would be an equivalent “thumbs down?”
But, the Union leaders broke one of the fundamental laws of the playing field: they made their own rules, and told everyone something else. Instead of the percent of all contingents, they looked at the percent of those who showed up and voted! As if this weren’t enough to INVALIDATE the vote, they refuse to release the vote numbers. There are 406 contingent faculty union members at I.C. How many voted YES? 50? 100? or what? The refusal to release the numbers suggests that in reality no majority was obtained. Therefore: a strike based on this vote would NOT be a legal strike. If the administration were to file a subpoena for the actual numbers, it would not go well for the Union leaders.
Kurt Lichtmann, I.C. M.M. Ed. ’82, HSHP Part Time Lecturer