Dear Peabody Colleagues,
For the past 41 years, I have served as a member of the Peabody College/Vanderbilt University NTT faculty. Even though in theory, from a social justice perspective, I am an advocate for the individual right of union representation when justified, I do not believe that SEIU is the union that should represent Vanderbilt NTT faculty. Instead of giving me voice, it is the first time in my years at the university I feel that my voice has been silenced. The union has silenced my voice in what should be a democratic voting process.
SEIU, in reality, has demonstrated through their process and actions, that contrary to their claims, NTT faculty actually will be giving up their individual voice, self -representation/determination, and academic freedom. I think SEIU's actions have demonstrated that it does not:
- understand our professional culture and community,
- operate in good faith,
- respect our rights as individuals but rather uses intimidation tactics to recruit members, and
- stand for the best interest of all constituencies they wish to represent.
We do not need union representation to represent us--we need to continue to represent ourselves. It is my opinion that the Peabody NTT faculty should vote against unionization at this time. Rather, as we have always done in the past, we need to sit at the table with our colleagues and Peabody administration to raise our own collective voices to continue to work toward improved inclusive and productive outcomes that bring justice for us all. I encourage each of you to vote. Use your voice!
Sharon L. Shields, Ph.D.
Professor of the Practice of Human and Organizational Development
Associate Dean of Professional Education
Peabody College of Vanderbilt University
Freedom is a "habit of resistance", an acquired taste for saying "no" to injustice, a conditioned reflex for helping others stand up and speak out. Freedom is not the safe harbor at the end of the journey. Freedom is the journey itself every day of our lives, every step of the way. Si Kahn, Author of How People Get Power