In response to: ‘Rushed’ affiliation vote worries some CFAC members

By Letter to the Editor, by Kathie Bergquist

Thank you for your balanced reporting about union members and fee-payers’ concerns about the rushed vote to affiliate with the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Although I am sure that many members thought affiliation was a good idea because it would provide more oversight to our union management, what concerned members and fee-payers was the cloak-and-dagger manner in which the vote to affiliate was held. Contrary to what Ms. Susan Van Veen states, there were not many meetings, but, rather, one phone conference which took place while CFAC members were still offcontract. Also contrary to what she asserts, not all members were contacted by their department union reps; in fact, almost every department in the school is woefully underrepresented. For example, there are no union reps at all in the English and Creative Writing Department, which has approximately 60 part-time faculty members.

With short notice and very little information, the union rolled union bylaw and constitutional changes into the affiliation vote, and members who asked for more information about these changes were given the runaround. Members were only told that these changes were necessary to bring the bylaws into compliance with national labor laws. Which bylaws, previously, were out of compliance? Members have a right to know. As a former member who was expelled from the union under the guise of the ad-hoc “Integrity Committee,” I have a right to know.

A further example of the current union leaderships cloak-and-dagger approach is the lack of information and transparency about upcoming union elections. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, the nomination process for elections—including for the badly-needed department rep positions—begins Oct. 1. Yet members’ requests for an election timeline or information about the nomination process have been routinely not responded to or ignored.

Why all this cloak-and-dagger? What are they afraid of? What do they have to hide? The members and feepayers want to know.

Kathie Bergquist
Adjunct Faculty

English and Creative Writing