Clericals asking for a boycott of President Martin’s picnic today

This just in from EMU-AAUP President Susan Moeller:

The clerical union President, Karen Hansen, has asked that we boycott President Martin’s BBQ picnic today.  Since the picnic is suppose to bring all employees on campus together and show that the Administration appreciates its employees, it could do so by just negotiating a fair contract with the clerical and police unions.  At this time the Administration is still refusing to negotiate on health care with either group.  They are just imposing it on them and demanding huge pay cuts.

I personally do not want to eat food that is being paid for with the raises for these groups.  The Administration has misplaced priorities and does not understand that how it is treating its employees is just wrong.  A picnic that feeds everyone lunch for a day does not make people feel better that they may no longer be able to afford healthcare.

See the article from the AnnArborNews at:

http://annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti/contract-negotiations-and-the-tension/?cmpid=NL_DH_topheadlines

Sure seems like contract negotiations are heating up early this year….

25 responses to “Clericals asking for a boycott of President Martin’s picnic today

  1. In fairness, the event is not free…
    “The menu will feature BBQ chicken (veggie option available), along with Hawaiian rolls, grilled pineapple, watermelon salad, chips, cookies and a beverage, all for just $5.”

    Given it is produced by dining services, it could be a break-even event or close to it.

  2. I would much rather that the University cut its social events budget and instead, put that money toward working with its employees for accessible, affordable health insurance. Community means standing together and I’m sorry to see that right now, the EMU administration doesn’t seem to want to working together with its clerical employees to build community on our campus.

  3. How about instead, you over-run it and eat all their food…that way you don’t let food go to waste.

  4. As far as I could tell, this “community BBQ” should actually have been called “subsidized lunch for a bunch of overpaid administrators.” Because that’s mostly who I saw there today.

    • Given that the “invitation to the EMU community” showed up one day before the event, no one should be surprised at that kind of turnout.

  5. My understanding is that this event is mostly paid for by the small fee charged, and is additionally subsidized by the president. The invitation’s timing hinged on the weather, which was threatening yesterday. So the weather forecast had to be checked first.

    • Event planning 101…first you schedule the event in advance so all parties can plan. As the event draws closer and weather becomes a factor you notify the parties of the cancelled event and the future make- up date.

      Welsh Hall Event Planning model: invite everyone to an event one day before it’s scheduled occurrence then have the PR guy make up excuses why it was done improperly.

  6. I was here and the group I was with commented that there were mostly staffers and students there but administrators did attend as well — did anyone expect them to NOT attend an event put on by the prez? The clericals were there also, with picket signs.

    My own take is – these are nice events that bring the campus community together in a great setting and for what seems like minimal costs to the school.

    Can’t we all just get along (for lunch?)

    • Generally, I agree, grady. A few bucks for lunch, let’s all relate to each other like grown-ups, etc. But contract negotiations unfortunately cloud these kinds of events, and the clerical union president was asking faculty et al to not attend trumps a picnic.

      Besides, I taught today and I brought my lunch with me.

    • Picket the Pineapple Picnic? Someone say that five times fast.

    • How much sense does it make to ask for a boycott, and simultaneously show up with picket signs?

  7. grady, generally I would agree as well. Except that the very same administrators who were enjoying their subsidized lunch with the President today, are the ones telling our clerical staff that clericals must accept a 14% pay cut, in the form of drastically increased health care costs, because the University budget is too tight. And while of course, health care is expensive, blah blah blah, the salt on this particular margarita is that EMU’s administration is not even pretending to try to negotiate – they’ve simply slammed down their dictum and said “here is what you will pay for health insurance.” That’s not negotiation, that’s trying to cram something down people’s throats.

    So how about the University try two things:
    1. Actually engage in real, fair, honest, open dialogue (negotiate, don’t try to dictate)
    2. If budgets are truly THAT tight, cut the budget for social stuff like today’s picnic before you go and cut people’s ability to afford health insurance – especially for those who don’t make very much money and can least afford to bear those cuts.

    If there were evidence that the University were truly committed to THAT kind of dialogue, they’d likely find many more people agreeing to “just get along.”

  8. Does anyone know if this is true? Please tell me that Faculty Senate will FOIA this.

    Geoff Larcom
    2:37 PM on 6/11/2012
    In recognition of the heavy state budget cuts and to help limit costs, EMU administrators as a group had a pay freeze this past year.

    • CJ,
      You can submit a FOIA. Anybody can. Why put this on the senate? It’s a dysfunctional body, barely able to keep track of its own agenda, let alone proactively take up fact checking on Welch Hall claims. FOIA’s cannot be done anonymously of course.

    • This is/was completely true, CJ. You will also recall last year that Susan Martin emailed every one about this:

      http://emutalk.org/2011/05/martins-budget-update-givebacks-tuition-and-athletics/

      And you might also recall that EMU fired/laid off a bunch of people last year:

      http://emutalk.org/2011/06/a-few-thoughts-on-3-65/

      But there’s an interesting thing worth noting as this impacts contract negotiations for the various unions on campus: this was last year. I haven’t heard anyone this year proclaim any dire warnings about pay freezes or layoffs among non-unionized folks this year. I’m not suggesting that the money situation is “great,” but I don’t think it’s that bad, either.

  9. You can Google the stories or other items on this, including one in AnnArbor.com. Just type in EMU and pay freeze.

    This would not apply to someone who changed jobs, such as going from an interim to a permanent top administrative/executive position, or the very few employees with a long-term contract with set terms.

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti/eastern-michigan-university-to-freeze-administrator-pay/

  10. This is from ESPN.com it shows EMU nearly doubled their spending on football recruiting from 2010 till 2011. EMU went from $129,798 to $230,141. Here is the link http://espn.go.com/college-sports/recruiting/football/story/_/id/8041461/the-cost-recruiting

    Any comments Geoff Larcom, I’m sure you can spin this in some meaningful unique way to justify this increase. How about the football team wins before we reward them, it seems to me the union workers on campus do a great job and aren’t compensated with huge pay increases why does a sub-par football program continue to see huge financial gains.

  11. In a sports arguement only, one would say recruiting is a pre-req of winning … therefore you have to spend money to get the players you can to win … and in circular logic, winning leads to more money and better recruiting etc …whichs sustains winning

    telling a team to win first and then get the money is not how the system works – good for bad

    no need to spin that – it is what it is

    • I am very critical of our Top Ten athletic program — we’re one of the Top Ten of all Division 1 programs in the country in terms of absolute dollars taken from student generated revenue and used to subsidize athletics, and in terms of % of athletic costs covered by subsidies (83%, I think). The whole MAC is a very reliant on subsidies.

      Clearly, there is no evidence that our Division 1 status contributes to the university’s well being or to the education of our students. Belief to the contrary rests on dogma, not evidence.

      That said — I will also say that there is no virtue in personalizing criticisms of athletics, as have a couple commenters above, speculating that Mr. Larcom might say something he hasn’t said.

      Critics of EMU’s priorities in spending should focus on the decision makers and their objectives, rather than on staff who don’t make the decisions.

      Nothing about the status quo of the huge source of red ink in the EMU budget — $23 million lost on athletics — is inevitable. It reflects a series of decisions to put Athletics First and treat students’ educational objectives as a means to extract revenue with which to subsidize athletics. Those choices need not be continued, as they violate the university’s reason for being. Education First!

    • Interesting observation since in academics it works the opposite way…show us the goods before the resources arrive….maybe

      Regarding EMU athletics, winning is irrelevant, the money spent is still primarily drawn from student subsidies. Is this sustainable or responsible given the academic priorities of the university?

  12. When one thinks of Eastern, one does not think of football. The attendance records demonstrate this.

  13. Very true, CJ. The surveys done by EMU’s consultants on the views of college bound young people who have an interest in EMU also verify this — neither football nor athletics generally rank as a attribute which prospective students rank as a factor to explain their interest in EMU.

  14. Since negotiations for the police and the clericals likely won’t be completed before the faculty negotiations start, why don’t you all get together, with a united plan on the most important stuff – raises, healthcare, etc… – and negotiate together and/or strike together? EMU really can’t run if the police, staff, AND faculty aren’t around. PS: You guys always seem to lose the PR war over this stuff. Maybe you should get some professionals. The public perception on these issues is more important than they might seem.

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