Herrin denies role in union negotiations

Recently removed SIU Board of Trustees Chairman Roger Herrin says President Glenn Poshard’s allegations that Herrin was in contact with the Faculty Association during contract negotiations are false.

Poshard called a press conference March 27 to address comments made against his leadership after a shake-up of the Board of Trustees the week before resulted in the former chairman, Herrin, being voted out. Although he remains on the board, during the conference, Poshard said Herrin was communicating with the university’s Faculty Association outside of the contract bargaining table before the week-long strike in November, which would violate the union
bargaining process.

Herrin, however, said those accusations are wrong.

“I never, ever directly or indirectly interfered in any of that, nor would I have
ever,” he said.

At the press conference, Poshard said Herrin walked into his office one day and gave him a sheet of paper with information of what the union wanted. Poshard said he took it to the full board and said Herrin had been talking to the union.

“His response to this was ‘No, I just dreamed this up out of my head,’” Poshard said.

Herrin said he was only making suggestions to the administration about what they could do to help the situation, and he did not speak with the Faculty Association.

Poshard said last week he thinks Herrin was speaking with the union.

“He came to us with the union demands from having met with the union, or having communicated with the union,” Poshard said.

Poshard said Herrin admitted the day before the press conference he had been communicating with the union.

But Herrin said Monday Poshard asked him one day in a meeting if he had been speaking with some of the union’s leaders. He said he told Poshard he
was not involved.

Herrin supported his case by saying he doesn’t know the people who were on the bargaining team or leaders of the union. He said settling issues with the Faculty Association was one of his goals when he took the position of chairman last April. He said until he insisted on it, the administration never got together with the bargaining team.

Randy Hughes, president of the Faculty Association, also said he doesn’t know of any instance of Herrin having contact
with the union.

“We didn’t speak with Herrin. Herrin wasn’t acting on our behalf. We didn’t communicate inside or outside of bargaining with Herrin,” he said.

Communicating with the board chairman would have been inappropriate for negotiations, Hughes said, because it must be done at the bargaining table by bargaining teams. But that isn’t to say the chairman plays no role in the process, Hughes said.

“Certainly, if you look at our contract, the contract is between the Faculty Association and the Board of Trustees,” he said.

Another claim Poshard stated in regard to contract negotiations involves the “fair-share” aspect of faculty contracts, which makes all members covered by the union pay a fee for certain costs.

Poshard said he thinks Herrin knew the union didn’t want fair-share and that they were willing to throw it away. Poshard said he asked Herrin at the board meeting how he knew, and the chairman never responded.

But Herrin said Monday he did not even know what fair-share was.

He did say he commented to Poshard about not thinking that fair-share, once he learned more about it, was going to be a deal-breaker in contract negotiations leading up to the strike.

Hughes said the fair-share part of negotiations was not just a tool to bargain, and the union was serious in wanting to get it in the contract. Because fair-share has never existed in the Faculty Association contracts at SIU, he said he can see how some individuals might have considered other issues of negotiations as
more important.

Poshard said the list also stated the union wanted a 3.5 percent raise over four years while in the end of negotiations the Faculty Association received no raise for 2011, a 1 percent increase in 2012 and 2013 and a 2 percent
increase for 2014.

“We had no way of giving people an increase of 3.5 percent for four years running,”
Poshard said.

But Herrin said he doesn’t know where it came from, and Hughes said 3.5 percent is what the administration brought to the bargain team anyway.

“That was the offer the administration presented,” Hughes said. “That was their offer, not
our offer.”

 

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