Anti-union group vies with UPI

By Peter Schuh

NIU’s Professors for Shared Governance (PROF-S) is gearing up for an upcoming election which will decide how NIU faculty members will be represented.

NIU faculty members will vote next month to determine whether they want union representation under the University Professionals of Illinois or continue under the present system of shared governance advocated by PROF-S.

Founded in 1983 in response to growing union allegations that it can represent NIU faculty better through collective bargaining, PROF-S is lead by T. Daniel Griffiths, professor of biological sciences, and Neil Rickert, professor of computer science.

The three points where PROF-S disagrees with UPI concern NIU’s shared governance system, faculty salaries and faculty course load. PROF-S claims faculty members salaries will be hurt by unionization, course loads will be made more strict and present university governing bodies—such as the University Council and the Faculty Senate—”will have no power because everything will be negotiated,” Rickert said.

The last attempt at UPI unionization was blocked by PROF-S in the fall semester of 1986. The “no-representative” ballot won in a runoff election against UPI by a 398 to 371 vote. The initial ballot, in which no faction received a majority vote, included the American Association of University Professionals in addition to the UPI and “no-representative” decisions.

At the time, PROF-S opposed the union bids because it believed the unions were more interested in acquiring power than solving problems.

Griffiths said, “There is contact only between the administration and the union. If you’re not a member you don’t have input or voice in the contract and you can lose representation instead of gain it.”

In regard to the present PROF-S movement in comparison to the one in 1986, Rickert said, “This is the same basic group and the same sort of idea.”

He described PROF-S as a “low-budget operation.

“We’re doing the best we can,” he said. “We’re all just

volunteers and we’re busy people. We don’t have the budget and offices of UPI.

“I think people are getting more interested in us as they understand what’s going on, but everything’s going very quickly. We’re just getting mailings out to the faculty. If you depend on volunteers you don’t have too many options,” he said.