May 15, 2017
Dear Blair Colleagues,
Now that Blair can decide for itself whether to be represented by the SEIU, it is more necessary than ever to vote. I am not supporting the SEIU’s attempt to represent our diverse academic non-tenured environment. With Blair’s multiple academic positions, I do not believe formulating a “one size fits all” format is viable. Furthermore, corporate unionization threatens the expression and development of the diverse opinions upon which higher education depends. While I am a life-time member of the American Federation of Musicians Union and value its service for the freelance, recording, symphonic and theater industry, I feel representation by the SEIU for academia is neither appropriate, effective nor necessary.
The process to unionize this spring has been precipitous and was made without a consensus. The first I heard of this movement was when emails announcing the intent to unionize arrived; followed by the SEIU representative knocking on my office door. This action has created divisiveness among non-tenured faculty and, if the union is adopted, a Blair union culture would result in an inharmonious community of “them versus us.” Had I been consulted, I would have said that something as intractable as unionization does not belong at Blair. While acknowledging that some faculty have had challenges, frustrations and feel disenfranchised and that issues of faculty workload, salaries and program cuts need to be addressed, the potential for reform is strong when people work together; not against each other. To affect and accomplish change, we need unity, not a union.
I want to retain my individual rights to negotiate my wages, benefits, teaching responsibilities, shared governance opportunities, health insurance and retirement plans and would welcome the opportunity to help other non-tenured faculty work toward making improvements.
Needless to say, Blair/Vanderbilt is my life’s work; it has provided me with opportunities of growth as a teacher, performer and human being for 43 years. I am fully vested in the Vanderbilt community and hope to continue to serve and learn for years to come. Let us work together to make it better for all.
Please vote NO if you do not want the SEIU as your exclusive bargaining representative (be sure to follow the specific ballot instructions to have your vote counted).
Thank you, Kathryn
- Please accept my apologies if your name was erroneously included in this non-tenure track bargaining unit email.
- Those eligible to vote are all non-tenure track faculty in each of the four schools (A&S, Blair, Peabody and Divinity) who taught at least one undergraduate level or above class during the Spring 2017, and do not have administrative roles.
- Four separate units based on non-tenure-track faculty’s primary school appointments are appropriate. Based on this finding, the RD directed separate elections in each of the four schools—A&S, Blair, Peabody and Divinity—to determine whether these newly-constituted units wish to be represented by SEIU Local 205 for purposes of collective bargaining.
- Elections for each school will begin on May 15 with ballots counted on June 6.
- Ballots will be sent to those eligible through the U.S. mail.
Professor of Viola
Blair School of Music