MSU professors fire back at anti-union faculty members
The vote on whether to decertify MSU's faculty union is underway this week. As some professors speak out against the union, others are defending it.
"The union has not been an adversarial voice on campus," said Dr. Bethany Letiecq, a professor of Health and Human Development. "It's been an empowering voice, and I'm saddened that there are faculty who feel that the union has created animosity. I feel the exact opposite."
Some of the union's critics argue that it has hurt communication on campus.
"In the past we've always had open discussions between students, faculty and administrators to solve our problems. Now that the union's here there's been a lot of barriers set up between the administration and faculty that make it a lot more difficult," said Physics professor Dr. Randy Babbitt.
Dr. David Weaver disagrees, saying that the union has made strides in the several years it's been on campus. Weaver is a professor of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and a union representative.
"The union should be given a longer term to see what it can achieve based on its initial successes and better partnership with the administration," he said. "And I don't see that relationship as adversarial, so I am hoping for a positive outcome -- that we keep our union."
Babbit predicts that if the union is not decertified in the vote, some professors will leave MSU. A student we spoke with said he would be unhappy to see that happen.
"It would make me upset because I'm paying money here to go to school and also get a good education," Oscar Rodriguez said. "If I'm not able to take a class from a certain professor that I know would do great at it, yes that would upset me a lot."
The union that could be decertified represents only tenured and tenure track professors. The Associated Faculty of Montana State University union that represents non-tenured faculty is not at issue in the vote.
Ballots are due by April 16.