Chris Uggen's Blog: strike ends

Saturday, September 22, 2007

strike ends

the afscme strike appears to be over, but nobody is celebrating.

as department chair, i'm both management and faculty. this means that i've spent the past three weeks walking a tightrope through a hailstorm. most of my sociology colleagues and students believe that the striking workers were treated poorly by the administration. many taught their classes off campus to avoid crossing picket lines, though our provost had expressly discouraged this practice.

i decided that i would not (and probably could not) monitor any actions taken in response to the strike, but that i would respond quickly to address specific student complaints. in each case, i was able to speak with the student and/or their parents within a few hours, find some sort of real accommodation to their needs, and write up a response to my dean. as i knew would be the case, our sociology instructors all had principled pedagogical reasons for their actions.

i just wish that folks were happier with the settlement. in my twelve years at the minnversity, we've always maintained a reasonably happy and productive we're-all-in-this-together working environment. it will likely take some work to get it back.


At 10:02 PM, Blogger S.S.Stone said...

Although I've never been involved in a strike I can only imagine it would be most difficult being management and faulty.
Sounds like you handled your end nicely...and who knows, perhaps the working environment will get back to the way it was sooner than least I hope so for all of you.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

thanks, s.s. i'm going to keep working to make things right.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Trina said...

I think you handled things as a true professional. I think as sociologists, we have to consider the broad picture of what was happening, which includes many actors in this situation and you did an excellent job with this.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

thanks, trina. i don't often blog about chair/department stuff, so i'd been classifying this issue as non-bloggable. it just seemed silly to ignore it, though, when it has dominated my worklife for the past month.


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