Letter to the Editor: Response to ‘DOL to Oversee CFAC Elections’

By Letter to the Editor, by Kathie Bergquist

In response to CFAC Treasurer Susan Van Veen’s recent Letter to the Editor regarding the article, “DOL to Oversee CFAC Elections,” it’s charming how insistent Van Veen is that elections occurred in 2015 and 2017 when there is an email from Fall 2015 that states that because the slate was uncontested, no elections would be held. While the union leadership may try to paint the circumvention of elections as perfectly legal and normal, in fact, it is in violation of the election procedure outlined in the union’s own bylaws that state that in the event of an uncontested election, a ballot would still be sent to members. I, for one, never received such a ballot and evidence of such a ballot has, to my knowledge, never been produced.

And, it’s no wonder if these “elections” were uncontested, since, in both years, there are zero mention of upcoming elections or the nomination process in any of the many emails issued by the union leadership leading up to Oct. 1, when the nomination process would have opened (by contrast, upcoming elections and the nomination process were mentioned in union emails leading up to 2013). How can members nominate themselves or others when they are not aware that an election period is underway? It’s almost as if that information was withheld by design.

In fact, despite the constant touting of the union’s “democratically-elected leadership,” the majority of current Steering Committee members never appeared on a ballot at all; they were appointed to their positions by the current CFAC president.

The current union leadership has a pattern, repeated in Van Veen’s letter, of casting aspersion on the motivations of members who question their actions or seek clarity as being aligned with the Illinois Education Association, a former parent union from whom the union separated many years back. That is just a joke and an obvious smear and deflection. Nobody is affiliated with IEA. IEA has nothing to do with current concerns and membership unease. To imply otherwise, to state it as factual, is just wrong and, frankly, bizarre.

The union leadership would like to believe that only a small disgruntled faction of members and fee payers are stirring the pot through their questioning of the leadership. However, more than 50 full union members in good standing signed a petition to delay the union’s recent affiliation with the [Illinois] Federation of Teachers.

As a fee-payer, I am glad that the DoL will make sure the process of electing union leadership is run democratically. I hope people will step up and throw their names in for either leadership positions or to serve as department reps—as we know, democracy cannot function without the active participation of the membership. And if the current union leadership were so concerned about low voter response from mail-in ballots, they would be willing to pay the return postage for those ballots.

Sincerely,

Kathie Bergquist

Adjunct professor in the English and Creative Writing Department

kbergquist@colum.edu

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