021: The General Assembly

img_20160121_213431.jpgMy British and American Literature professor Dr. Pilariza Baldovino gave an impassioned speech at the Faculty General Assembly today. As did several others, actually. This is a day when emotions were running particularly high, the climax to a long week of confusion and growing animosity.

Brief background as best as I can reconstruct it: the college faculty union negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement incorporating socialized increases, meaning, newer faculty would get bigger increases than more senior faculty. How this little detail slipped through, I don’t know. It seems not to have been studied very well. After the payslips came, the affected faculty noticed and raised a hue. Several newer faculty who would have otherwise benefited from the increases felt sympathetic. They asked for a meeting with the union leadership but the officers steadfastly refused.

The CFU bylaws specify a general assembly every January 21. This meeting was mandatory for the union officers to call. Instead, nothing. Yesterday, the union officers circulated a letter stating that the general assembly would tentatively be pushed to February 26. Make of that what you will.

There are other issues at play. Union officers have hidden behind a legalistic interpretation of the rules. For one thing, there is a list of who is (and corollary to that, is not) included in the union. Those who have been assigned administrative posts are considered on-leave and therefore have no personality in the union, even though they continue paying dues. (There is one glaring exception, though, for the union legal counsel, who is an active member despite holding an administrative post.) Again, make of that what you will.

Hence, the general assembly today, despite union officers threatening legal action against all those who would attend. The union officers did not show up. Well, two did, but they stayed out in the hall, balefully glaring at the proceedings inside.

I’ll leave off the narrative here because I may not be remembering all the motions and votations. Let me jump to the end and say that the union has new officers.

All the while, I blazed through all the remaining review lessons for my Duolingo Spanish course. The general assembly was entertaining in a way but I did not feel like socializing much. Since I technically still held an administrative post, I flipped open my netbook and dove into the exercises. I only occasionally surfaced to whoop and clap.

I am getting the hang of Java, Eclipse, and Maven. Java is a complex beast to work with, but I am beginning to appreciate its rigor.

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Dom Cimafranca

Teacher, writer, project manager, and all-around nice guy.