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March 13. 2013 10:50PM

PSU faculty speak out against union effort

PLYMOUTH - Three Plymouth State University employees, who say they represent a large number of faculty members, issued a statement Tuesday opposing announced plans by other faculty to form a union, saying joining a union could "marginalize" some faculty members by making them accept the votes and opinions of a union and its representatives.

A statement released by Dr. Annette M. Holba, jointly appointed associate professor of communication and media; Dr. Kathleen Norris, associate professor of educational leadership, learning and curriculum; and Dr. Linda Levy, department chair of health and human performance, said "being forced to support the union would strip individuals of personal rights."

"We cannot support the marginalization of various members of our full faculty as part of gaining access to representation for some of the faculty," the faculty said in the statement.

"If the union is voted in, all of us who have no desire to support the State Employees Union in its work or be spoken for by them will be forced to provide support to them. We do not believe this union can represent our interests and we do not have any need or desire for them to make the attempt."

Last week, faculty members from PSU filed to form a collective bargaining unit under the laws of the State Employees' Association of New Hampshire. PSU has the only tenure-track teachers in the University System of New Hampshire not represented by a labor union. The adjunct faculty at PSU joined the SEA in 2011.

But in their statement, Holba, Norris and Levy said they believe they speak for many PSU faculty who are against unionizing.

"Many of us feel it is time for those of us who are against the formation of a union to speak up and voice our opinions as a group. The entire Department of Educational Leadership, Learning and Curriculum explained their opposition relative to faculty unionization on this campus. Their opposition reflects a sentiment that we believe many faculty share."

The statement also said, "We have a strong working relationship with our administration. They seek out and value our opinions. We consider them our colleagues with the purpose of providing the best possible learning environment for our students.

"We are fully empowered to make decisions about curriculum, instruction and assessment within our departments and as a whole faculty. We have the ability to resolve conflicts between the administration and the faculty. We have the ability to resolve issues that arise between faculty members. We are encouraged to make decisions that promote healthy work choices. We have the freedom to control our workload."

Money spent on union dues or agency fees could be better spent in direct support of our students, the statement said.

"We believe that unionization is not in the best interest of the faculty as a whole and we cannot support the divisions in our faculty that would be created by having many of our valued non-union eligible colleagues marginalized."

dseufert@newstote.com


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