Our Request to Particiate

November 17, 2011

Ellen Krutz
Vice-President, Human Resources
Columbia College Chicago
600 S. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60605

Dear Ellen:

The United Staff of Columbia College (USofCC) is aware that the College has initiated a prioritization process that is being guided by outside consultants and the method described in Robert Dickeson’s book Prioritizing Academic Program and Services.  As part of the process, the College has established a variety of “prioritization teams” that have been charged with gathering information and making recommendations to the College regarding academic priorities, nonacademic priorities and resource allocations.

With this letter, USofCC reminds the College it has the legal obligation to bargain the decision and/or effects of any changes related to the prioritization process that the College may seek to implement which could impact the terms and conditions of employment of our bargaining unit members.

Furthermore, the legal obligation to bargain over the effects of such changes requires that such bargaining be done “in a meaningful manner and at a meaningful time.” [First National Maintenance Corporation, 452 U.S. 666, 681-682, 101 S. Ct. 2573 (1981)].

As this applies to the most recent Prioritization Timeline released by the College, USofCC requests that a preliminary meeting with our union be held immediately following the posting of the Dean’s and Reviewer’s preliminary rankings on or before January 9, 2012.

In addition, USofCC hereby requests that the College provide us with the following information: 

Advance written copies of any and all recommendations made by each of the College prioritization committees which could potentially impact the terms and conditions of employment for our bargaining unit members.

Advance written copies of the final recommendations made by the President of Columbia College Chicago to the Board of Trustees with regard to any change that could impact bargaining unit members’ terms and conditions of employment.

Pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act, should the employer fail to provide the information requested above (once it is available) or fail to agree to legally-required decisional and/or effects bargaining when requested, USofCC will be required to consider appropriate legal remedies.

USofCC sends this letter in the hope of preserving labor harmony and attempting to work collaboratively with the College throughout the prioritization process.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Bright
President, USofCC

cc: USofCC Executive Committee
Bill Silver
Betsy Pawlicki
Dr. Warrick Carter

From: Krutz, Ellen
Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 7:32 PM
To: Bright, Michael
Subject: Request to bargain effects of Prioritization

Dear Mr. Bright,

I am writing to respond to USofCC’s November 17, 2011 letter requesting that Columbia College participate in a preliminary meeting with the Union on or before January 9, 2012 and provide information related to the Prioritization process.

As an initial matter, effects bargaining may only be triggered by a clear announcement that a decision affecting the employees’ terms and conditions of employment has been made and that the employer intends to implement this decision. At this stage in the process, the Prioritization committees’ findings are preliminary recommendations intended to create discussion, and no final decisions have been made or implemented. In the event that Columbia does decide to implement recommendations affecting bargaining unit members’ terms and conditions of employment, the College is committed to giving proper notice, and upon request, engaging in effects bargaining at that point in the process.

Regarding your information request, the College encourages its employees to approach Prioritization in a thoughtful and analytical manner and to examine all relevant circumstances when conducting their reviews. As such, promptly after online publication, the Union can access the Committees’ recommendations from the Prioritization homepage link in IRIS: https://iris.colum.edu/rep/pri/default.aspx.

The College reiterates its commitment to negotiating in good faith and to honoring the bargaining process. We also note that the Prioritization process is intentionally transparent and that the College values the feedback of all its employees.


Ellen Krutz
Vice President for Human Resources

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