AAUP Truman chapter meeting, March 19, 2013
Attendance: Marc Becker, Wolfgang Hoeschele, David Robinson
1. University Conference Day on February 21. Everybody agreed that our session, “Understanding the challenges of public sector employment” with Rebecca McClanahan and Richard Von Glahn had been informative and successful. Marc Becker raised the issue of collective bargaining as an agenda point because Van Glahn had emphasized its possibility.
2. Raising awareness regarding the Missouri State budget. Marc has suggested to Troy Paino and Joan Poor that the university invite Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project to give a presentation here, along the lines of the presentation that she gave to the AAUP at its state meeting in Kansas City. Joan Poor has responded that she would look into it.
We discussed bringing Amy Blouin or someone else of that organization, either now (as the state budget is going through the decision-making process) or in the fall (by which we would have more time to organize the event). The conclusion was that it would be better to have more lead time, in order to also get people from the Kirksville community to be interested (which could have more political clout for our representatives). Kirksville organizations that might be interested could include the Chamber of Commerce, the Kirksville Downtown Improvement Committee, and city Hall. If those got interested, Troy Paino might also be more interested.
3. Collective bargaining. By law, we would be able to set up a collective bargaining chapter of the AAUP in Missouri, but the question is whether it would be practicable. Those present agreed that it would require very strong faculty support, and that such support is weak. Some professors tend to take the side of the administration, some are afraid to take a stand against the administration, and yet others feel that their own group (STEM disciplines, business, tenured faculty, etc.) are relatively well off so they would rather not rock the boat. It was therefore agreed that it is not a propitious time right now to try to set up a collective bargaining chapter.
However, it is possible to raise awareness about the possibility to do collective bargaining and what the benefits might be. For this, it was discussed to bring in speakers who have relevant experience, such as somebody from Missouri State University, or Hans-Joerg Tiede at Illinois Wesleyan University.
4. AAUP outreach. Although we had announced the topic of collective bargaining, we had an exceptionally low turnout at our meeting. The local AAUP chapter has been declining in size as a result of old people retiring and the like, without new members replacing the old. This means there is a need to do more outreach. Bonnie Mitchell had worked on this while she was chapter president, but we haven’t followed up on that. Doing more “fun” and social activities to get people talking with each other was discussed; working to revive the University Club could help in that.