Solidarity Now! Articles by Members

Interview with Patricia Hollingsworth, Director of the IU Health Engagement Program

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On July 26, just eleven days after Patricia Hollingsworth took up her new position as Director of the Health Engagement Project, June Wickboldt and I (Hans van der Genugten) had the pleasure of meeting with her. Ms. Hollingsworth is an alumna of HPER at Indiana University, and her career since graduation has been in health and wellness. She has directed programs at St. Vincent Health, Clarian Health Partners, and Ball State University and was president of a health care consulting firm. Patricia Hollingsworth seems genuinely passionate about wellness and the means of achieving this. She also seems open to suggestions and input from all involved. We look forward to a fruitful and successful partnership with her.

With the assistance of Rachel McCann, we compiled Ms. Hollingsworth’s responses to a list of questions derived from earlier discussions on the listserv, meetings with Bruce Jacobs, independent research and her initial presentation. So, here goes…

Privacy Issues
Will any information provided by employees to the Wellness Plan administrators about their health be accessible to IU in anyway? If so, how?

Employee confidentiality is a priority; we will ensure all internal and external programs meet regulatory guidelines. Wellness programs and services are voluntary, and we will always be transparent about why we are requesting information and what is done with the information we request.

I do not anticipate having a repository of individual health information, only indication that the employee has participated in a screening or program for the purposes of incentives. We want to be recognized as a leader in wellness, working with vendors to provide quality programs that meet the needs of employees. Only through your input can we continue to provide quality services. I will do all I can to ensure employees have choice. At the end of the day, it’s helpful to know the program is effective, but if we impact someone’s health and don’t know it, I’m ok with that. The goal is healthy IU employees, success in your well-being is more important than outcome data.

Health Engagement and Cost Savings
How and when will IU evaluate evidence that the implementation of the Health Engagement Plan is resulting in significant cost containment?

The health and well-being of the employee population is my concern. I was fortunate to have patient/employee focused care drilled into my head early in my career. I truly believe if you provide quality health and well-being programs and service in a caring manner that meet the employee needs, cost containment will follow.

That being said, it usually takes wellness initiatives about three years before a financial return on investment is seen in medical claim costs. In my view, cost is a measurement of goods and/or services exchanged. Although there are many reasons for increased medical costs, health status is one. The greater evidence of the program’s success will be in the vitality of the university employees.

Biometrics
To what extent do high BMI’s or high blood pressure contribute to the recent increases in Indiana University Health care costs? Statistics seem to show that increases in physician fees, pharmaceuticals, cost shifting (insured paying for uninsured), and more expensive screening/diagnostic tools (MRIs, CTs, etc.) are the primary causes of the increases in costs.

Employee health engagement programs alone will not solve the health care crisis in America. It is a complex problem and will take a number of complex shifts to slow rising health care costs. As noted in the earlier question, health status is reflected in health care cost, and positive lifestyle choices impact health. Your everyday choices have the greatest impact on your health.

Why set biometric targets? Isn’t this demotivating (sticks instead of carrots)?
It’s important for people to check their numbers regularly even if they don’t feel sick, as many diseases do not have symptoms until it is too late. Targeted measures are values that indicate a lack of disease state, at risk for a disease state, or in a disease state in which the individual needs to be treated.

I welcome your input on how we can encourage each other to embrace and take care of ourselves.

Is there perhaps a danger that older people will consistently fall behind in health standards and therefore eventually end up paying a higher premium?

As we age health risks go up, but screening is critical for older people; the expectation is not for people to only get to recommended biometric values through lifestyle alone. We want people to be treated for the disease they have so they can feel good and prosper.

Making healthy lifestyle choices early in life and taking preventive measures, such as screenings for early interventions, will help keep us healthy as we age.

The Onsite Campus Employee Clinic
Regarding the employee health clinic—with the cut back from the state is this still a viable option? Will it utilize services from IU Health - Bloomington Hospital in Bloomington, the local Student Health Center, or is this still to be decided? Do you know the range of the services that will be provided?

My understanding is the employee health clinic is yet to be decided. You may want to discuss the status with Dan Rives in Human Resources.

Communications
When will we see a roll-out of the Health Engagement Plan for 2012?

I am currently meeting with the system wide groups. IU is fortunate to have so many resources throughout the state. I would also like input from all employees. This is your program, and we need to know from you how we can best support you on your health and well-being journey. Watch for an electronic mechanism to provide input or feel free to send your suggestions to me via e-mail at pwhollin@indiana.edu.

The Personal Health Assessment questionnaire portion of the Health Engagement Program for 2011 was cancelled. Can we expect a revised version to be rolled out for 2012 or later?

I don’t anticipate using the assessment this year.

For any program to work well, communication is of the utmost importance. How are you going to interact with all sectors of the university community? Will employees have input into the program? How will you get feedback from them? Employees would, I think, be more open if they knew that information would be kept confidential. Will there be a way of assuring confidentiality?
We want IU to be the healthiest campus in America. The only way we will do this is team work. We want to build a wellness program with employees that will work for employees. There are 17,500 employees, and one shoe does not fit all, so input from all constituents is critical.
I can’t be everywhere all at once, but I will do my best to work within all sectors of the university community to deliver services that meet you where you are. We will use face to face meetings, focus groups and social media sites for input on existing services and employee needs.
We will be building a website to provide information about the Wellness Programs and hopefully highlight information for individual campuses. We will use many of IU’s current communication tools to inform employees of what is happening. These include electronic newsletters, social media, email blasts, etc.
In your presentation you indicated tools to support the employee:

Biometric screening
Health coaching
Individual nutritional counseling
Disease education
Disease management
Educational classes
Population health initiatives
Self-care programs
Physical activity
Recreation opportunities
Safety and ergonomics
Financial well being
Resiliency/Stress management
Work/Life balance services
Employee assistance programs

Which of these do you consider already in place? Which of these have not been implemented yet and deserve priority in your estimate?
Every day I learn of more and more programs sprinkled across Indiana University. I’m thrilled there are so many people passionate about health and well-being. As this is my 11th day of work, I would like to come back next month and answer this question.

On Campus Healthy Living Promoters
As part of weaving health engagement into sectors of influence you mention, “Ensure access to healthy and affordable food both on campus and in the communities we live.” How would you like to see this materialize on campus?

We have started the conversations but I would like more input to understand the needs of employees and develop an effective program that meets everyone’s needs.

A Step in the Right Direction by Naomi Buck Palagi

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IU Northwest Chancellor Lowe recently commissioned a salary study report, and there have been some very positive results. For example, the pay for Adjunct Instructors, which had been static for many years, has gone up significantly starting this fall. This was a very encouraging sign. Additionally, a 3% increase has been made to the support staff and service maintenance salary schedule at IUN, effective July 1, 2011. While not a huge increase, this is good news for new people hiring in to IUN, and also good news for those who may be at the top of their schedules, as they will be able to receive pay raises as part of their salary, which can also go toward their other benefits. Unfortunately, those are the only two groups of people who benefitted, because although all tiers of the schedule had a 3% numeric increase, this increase was not applied to those who are already working in the middle ranges. So, for example, a person who was 10 cents shy of a “median” salary, and who received the across the board 1.5% raise on July 1, is now actually further from that “median” salary, which went up 3% at the same time.

Currently, there are very few, and cumbersome, ways to actually move up the payscale. Waiting for your years of service to move you up seems increasingly counterproductive, as those who start out with low pay move up exponentially more slowly than those with higher pay, thanks to the standard of low, and percentage-based pay raises, with support staff raises being considerably lower than cost of living increases over the last many years. It seems the only way to move up the payscale is to have a) negotiated a good rate at your time of hire, or b) reclassify your job. Obviously once you are hired you can no longer negotiate your initial rate, and reclassification, a big job in itself, is not always appropriate to the situation. This is why an applied salary schedule increase is such a necessary and useful tool for recognizing (and maintaining) employees who have put in years of quality service to the institution.
Increasing the minimum wage and recognizing that support and maintenance staff are underpaid is a great thing. However, for it to have any effect in actually bringing the majority of workers’ salaries closer to market norms and peer institutions, and for it to have any positive effect on workers’ lives, it needs to be actually applied to all of the workers it claims to cover.

Hopefully, the administration will rectify this inequity as soon as possible.

When to File an Accident Report

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When You Should File An Accident Report

By Jane Goldsmith

Some IU staff think they only need to file an accident report for an on-the-job injury when they have to go to Promptcare for medical care. That is not the case. Any kind of injury – even those that do not warrant a trip to Promptcare – should be reported.

When the injury form is filled out and filed, more than your name is noted. The university notes other information completed on the form – where the injury happened, what part of the body was involved, and whether you needed medical care, among other things. If necessary, it is included in the OSHA 300 log that is filed annually.

As part of the IU/CWA Joint Safety Committee duties, we also review the injury data. We use information from the forms to try to identify patterns of injuries and where they occur, to see if we can identify problem areas.

For instance, some of the major injuries incurred by support staff are sprains and strains. In looking at the accident reports, if we notice there were several injuries in a department which involved slipping on liquids (whether or not the injury needed medical care), we would ask Environmental Health and Safety to investigate what might be occurring in the department to cause so many injuries and determine if something can be done to increase safety standards.

So please fill out those forms whether you need to see a doctor or not. In the long run, it could help you and your co-workers have a safer working environment.

IUN Mutual Gains Meeting shows promise

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Mutual Gains Meeting at IUN Shows Promise
by Naomi Palagi
The April 2011 meeting for Mutual Gains at IUN was a first for the campus. In attendance from CWA Local 4730 were VP Audrea Gant-Davis, member Mary Hackett, and member Naomi Palagi, as well as IUN Human Resources Director Carolyn Hartley and Vice-Chancellor Joe Pellicciotti. Items on the agenda were employee evaluations, the synchronous TIME system, and orientation/ training for new employees.
The employee evaluation form which is used on our campus is a one-size-fits-all form. One possible solution to dissatisfaction with the evaluation form was to require the job descriptions (written either as percentages or amounts of time for each duty) to be attached to every annual evaluation. It was agreed to try to come up with a solution (such as attaching job descriptions, revising the form, or other) by the end of the year 2011, to be in place for the February 2012 annual evaluation.
Another topic discussed was orientation and training for new employees, which many employees do not remember receiving at all. Ms. Hartley said that all new employees sign off on a form stating they have completed the online orientation, and she later sent us the link for that orientation. Ms. Davis brought up a suggestion by some of the members that new hires be brought in before an old hire leaves, to help with training. Ms. Hartley agreed that would be great, but said it is an issue of budget. She said it is also very helpful when employees leave behind department manuals.
The subject of synchronous TIME was then discussed. One of the issues brought up was problems with supervisor participation, particularly that at least one supervisor has told all of their workers that no more notes are allowed. Also discussed was the morale issue. Prior to synchronous time, one of the great aspects of IUN was that staff liked to be involved in things, whether it be outreach at the fair or science Olympiad events. While walking around campus on lunch breaks, etc., many staff willingly participated when asked to smile at new students and help them find their way around. Now, when staff are being watched so carefully and required to punch a clock, it no longer feels like a good thing to volunteer, but rather like we are being exploited. This is particularly important given the new chancellor’s focus on community engagement. As employees, we want to be part of things, and to feel like we are “in this together,” but it is very hard to feel that way under the current system. Ms. Hartley confirmed that the decision to go synchronous or asynchronous is a campus decision. She and Mr. Pellicciotti emphasized that this system was a decision put in place by our previous chancellor, and handed to Chancellor Lowe when he arrived.
When asked if there is any chance that synchronous TIME will be repealed, Ms. Hartley said it will not be repealed. However, she and Mr. Pellicciotti agreed that there are a lot of problems with the system at all campuses, and that there will most likely be some changes to the system, be it synchronous or asynchronous, within the next year.
Now, less than a month after the Mutual Gains meeting, we have in fact received some information on those upcoming changes. Specifically, Chancellor Lowe’s office sent an email message to bi-weekly employees on May 3, informing us that the number of notes requesting changes by supervisors and overall errors on time sheets need to be reduced, and that employees must be more diligent in punching in and out. However, the message emphasized that the most important factor with the TIME system is accuracy, so we should indeed add notes for any instances in which our time punches need changes in order to accurately reflect our work. Additionally, and most significantly, the message also informed us that, “it is planned to adopt an updated version of the TIME system during autumn 2011 that will enable synchronous users to correct missed punches on their own.” While we do not know all the details of this updated version, it certainly sounds promising, and seems to indicate that some of our hard work fighting against this overly-automated, overly-Big Brother-style system is paying off. We should not fail to let our supervisors and human resources department know of any continuing and further problems that we encounter with this system, or with the updated version when it arrives. We can certainly hope that the updated version restores some of the lost morale, in that it may indicate that the administration is once again willing to trust its full-time employees to record their own time accurately.
The chance to sit down and speak with the director of human resources and a vice-chancellor regarding union employee conditions, benefits, experiences, and thoughts is a wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to this process bringing exactly what is intended: mutual gains for the workers and for the university.

Health Incentive Plan

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Health Incentive Plan – Will IU keep up with the Joneses?
-By Rachel M. McCann

With the new Health Incentive Plan (HIP) already underway at IU, many employees are anxious to see exactly what the final plan will be like. This led me to question whether there are similar plans already in effect at other universities/companies and how IU’s current plan compares to what “the Joneses” are doing.

First things first- let’s examine what we know about IU’s HIP. IU is hoping to achieve several goals with its new voluntary HIP. In the first phase, they hope to cut back on health care costs by offering incentives for employees to get healthier. Also, they are encouraging employees to commit to healthier behaviors and choices. The plan is set up to offer “credits” to be used toward insurance premium reductions. This can be a partial decrease based on whether the employee is able to meet both goals of being tobacco free and completing the recommended test/screenings. According to a 1/11/2011 IU News release, “A later phase will focus on physician treatment plans and prescription drug regimens. Coaching and support programs will be provided for employees and their spouses with such concerns as: tobacco cessation, blood pressure, diabetes, nutrition, body mass, etc.”

Now, let’s look at a couple of established health incentive plans. The first is the HIP offered by Ohio State University, which has been in effect since 2006. They call it “Your Plan for Health” or “YP4H”. According to OSU, “YP4H's primary focus is on helping faculty, staff and their families reach the healthiest state possible by offering a variety of programs and incentives for identifying and acting on health care conditions, promoting cost-efficient choices based on individual needs, and taking control of health care spending.”
Similar to IU, OSU's first step to earning the incentives is having employees complete a Personal Health Assessment. (However, IU has now removed this requirement after employees raised strong privacy concerns.) After taking the Personal Health Assessment OSU employees will then qualify for incentives like:
1) Medical premium reductions up to $360.
2.) Enrollment in an Incentive Points Program that tracks healthy behaviors and activities to earn up to an additional $125.
OSU also offers resources such as educational programs like Veggies 101, fitness center discounts, tobacco cessation programs, and a Weight Watchers-at-Work program with reimbursement for attendance.
Overall, OSU’s plan is similar to IU’s, except it seems to currently offer its employees a wider range of incentives.

The second HIP to compare with IU’s plan is Safeway Inc., an international supermarket chain that operates thousands of stores and employs a large number of people. Safeway rolled out their plan in 2005. According to a 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal titled How Safeway is Cutting Health Care Cost, by CEO Steven Burd, “The results have been remarkable. During this four-year period, we have kept our per capita health-care costs flat (that includes both the employee and the employer portion), while most American companies' costs have increased 38% over the same four years.”

Safeway’s program is designed to motivate their employees to make behavioral modifications which lead to a pronounced decrease in the employee’s insurance premiums. The company contends that 74% of all health care costs are confined to four chronic conditions: cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. They are adamant that the majority of these conditions are preventable. Mr. Burd says “Safeway's Healthy Measures program is completely voluntary and currently covers 74% of the insured nonunion work force. Employees are tested for the four measures cited above and receive premium discounts off a "base level" premium for each test they pass. Data is collected by outside parties and not shared with company management. If they pass all four tests, annual premiums are reduced (by) $780 for individuals and $1,560 for families. Should they fail any or all tests, they can be tested again in 12 months. If they pass or have made appropriate progress on something like obesity, the company provides a refund equal to the premium differences established at the beginning of the plan year.”

Essentially, Safeway rewards their employees’ healthy lifestyles and choices with decreased insurance premiums. Similarly, IU is offering discounts on premiums once an employee has signed the tobacco free affidavit and completed the bio-metric screening. The difference is that Safeway allows unused portions to roll over to the next year up to a maximum amount.

IU’s plan is in its infancy, and time will tell what adjustment and additional incentives might come in the future. It appears the way to a successful HIP is to give employees a sense of ownership and control of their health care cost based on their individual participation. An employee’s behavioral choices will directly lead to healthier lives resulting in decreased health care costs.

We (IU employees) need to have a higher sense of accountability when it comes to our health care. Our choices are what will make or break us.
Overall I think IU is making steps in the right direction. If they continue to broaden the range of incentives, more employees may be willing to participate. If this happens we will all be winners no matter what “the Joneses” are doing.

Sources
IU News Room (1/11/2010) Incentive plan will help IU employees improve health, contain health care increases IU News Room [Retrieved 4/7/2011], http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/13048.html
OSU Health Plan Website [Retrieved 4/7/2011], https://www.webmdhealth.com/OhioStateYP4H/default.aspx?secure=1#
Steven Burd CEO Safeway Inc. (6/12/2009). How Safeway is Cutting Health-Care Costs. Wall Street Journal [Retrieved 4/7/2011], http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124476804026308603.html

Unions are Under Attack: Will You Stand With Us?

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By Bryce Smedley, CWA 4730 President

The very concept of labor unions is under attack! Why would anyone be against a group of workers stand-ing together? The simple answer: money! When people are allowed to organize and fight for fairness in the workplace, employers are forced to pay their fair share. In Indiana, and the country, unions are under assault by businesses and their political partners who exist off big campaign contributions. The public is fed lies and distortions about the purpose of unions and the princi-ples for which they stand. An excellent example from this year was the legislation (and intentional misno-mer), ?Right to Work,? which truly translates to ?Right to work for less.? The truth: in states that have busted collective bargaining rights, workers earn less money. Companies are not willing to pay more unless they are forced to by their workers.

Indiana University is not willing to pay higher wages and lower health care premiums unless we fight for them, and yet there is often complacency among IU employees. Many assume that their fellow workers will do the hard work and pull their weight. This is known as ?the free-rider? problem and it is a slippery slope! If you don’t stand up for your working rights, why should your fellow worker at the next desk, and why should an employer change the way they treat their employees?

As a local union we have decided to fight for bet-ter wages across campus and for lower health care pre-miums. If you are not a member of our union, then I am assuming you feel the costs for health care are afford-able, your current salary is fair and you are paid appro-priately for the work you do. You may also be compla-cent with paying more and more each year to park on campus. This attitude—that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about —is dangerous! Without your participation, Indiana University and our state legislators assume everything is fine, and that the silent majority of support staff can be forced to pay more for benefits such as health care, parking, and tuition, and that we can be kept silent and complacent with small wage increases and should be happy with them.

As we continue to pay more for everything in this economy from utilities to health care, are you willing to stay quiet, remain neutral or intimidated from saying anything or doing anything? Will you be a free-rider, counting on your fellow employees to speak up for you? Will your silence allow businesses and administrators to delegitimize you and your fellow employees even more? Collectively we suffer, or collectively we win fair wages and benefits for the essential work we do for IU.

Day of Black CWA 4730 newsletter

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This special edition of Solidarity Now focuses on the Day of Black, held on IU campuses on July 1, 2010.

AttachmentSize
July 2010 newsletter (2.pdf3.24 MB

An Open Letter to the President

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by Linda Harl

Dear President McRobbie:
Thank you for your kind email letter of September 4 addressed to all staff. It is nice to be appreciated. One would only wish that your actions and those of other administrators matched your words.
First, let’s talk about salaries. You found something for the lowest paid. That is good for them, but where did the $30,000 cut off come from? Don’t those of us who have been here longer demonstrate just as much “dedication and hard work” as those who got the bonuses? Furthermore, this arbitrary distribution of funds is in violation of agreements previously agreed upon with CWA. And while faculty salaries are also frozen, they still have research accounts which cover a very generous definition of work related expenses. And I know that building funds supposedly come from a different source than salary money, but don’t you think putting buildings before people is kind of insulting to those who might work in those very buildings?
You also found some money to offset tuition hikes after criticism was voiced by a member of the state legislature. If we get Vi Simpson to yell about staff salaries, would we get something? I doubt it. Money hardly ever trickles down to those at the bottom.
Secondly, let’s talk about vacancies in staff positions. I have been told that when I retire next year, the College will only fund my position as half time, and that it may not be at the same classification that I now hold. This practice seems to be true all across campus. This implies that you think there are now twice as many staff as needed to efficiently run the university. This is both ludicrous and insulting. It is going to be hard to show any “spirit and energy” if we are doing the work of two people. And does this mean that if people don’t quit or retire fast enough, layoffs are the next step? This negates the “we didn’t get a raise, but at least we have a job” sentiment heard now.
You can already see the effects of such cuts by looking around campus. Outside of those around Bryan House, flower beds need weeding, sidewalks aren’t repaired and so on. Physical plant staff have already been cut so far that they don’t have enough personnel for proper grounds upkeep.
I can also mention the situation with College advisors. There are no funds to hire more, so a few brave souls have to handle four or more departments. This is very efficient, given the record number of students now on campus.
So, thanks again for the email, but as the old saying goes, that and a dollar will buy me a cup of coffee. Next year, just send a check.
Sincerely,
Linda Harl
26 year IU staff employee

Geology Summer Courses and Enterprise Rental Issues 2009

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by Terry Stigall

There are none. Enterprise was NOT used to supply the large SUV vehicles for the IU summer geology field courses in Montana. And the best thing that came from this? NO FLAT TIRES! Not a single flat tire occurred over the course of the whole summer due to the efforts of IU Purchasing and IU Motorpool to provide the vehicles needed WITH the tires best suited for Montana roads.
As the new 2009 year rolled around, Enterprise was making promises they could do better than last year and supply us with the 25 vehicles we needed to run the field station courses in Montana. Then a few months later, things took a serious turn, Enterprise announced they were no longer providing IU with large SUV’s to rent. The folks at IU purchasing were faced with the hard task of solving this problem on fairly short notice.
Due to this and other issues with Enterprise, IU sought a better alternative to using monthly rentals, Automotive Resources International (ARI) was contracted to provide the SUV’s we needed. ARI’s business is managing fleet vehicles, and they work closely with their customers to provide vehicles which meet a company’s unique needs. IU negotiated a 4 year lease option with ARI to provide 16 SUV’s to IU. Since Enterprise was slow to admit they would no longer be providing large SUV’s to IU, there was little time for ARI to find the quantity of SUV’s needed on such short notice. ARI had ordered new Chevrolet Suburbans, but it was discovered the automotive plant was not scheduled to start production on them until July ‘09, much too late for our needs.
ARI allowed IU Motorpool and IU Purchasing to FIND the vehicles we needed and buy them right from the dealer, with the desired off-road tires needed for Montana. IU procured 8 GMC YUKON SUV’s on a 4 year lease with ARI, to be used as if they were purchased, where IU Motorpool will do the maintenance licensing and departmental renting of the vehicles. Eight other Large SUV’s, Ford Expeditions, were provided by ACE rental on a monthly basis for the summer. ACE was very cooperative and allowed IU Motorpool mechanics to mount 32 of the 90 heavy duty tires that IU had to purchase last year on these vehicles. However, some of the vehicles required a different tire size than the 90 that were on hand, so IU Motorpool purchased additional tires to make sure there were plenty of replacement tires available if needed for the duration of the trip.
The result of these efforts made for a very uneventful driving experience for the students and faculty. There were no flats tires and no safety issues related to tire problems. There were also a significant cost savings in renting this year’s vehicles as well. The courses were able to progress day to day on schedule, and this greatly relieved the faculty to be able to actually focus on teaching. Now that summer is over and Enterprise has left the Range Road facility, IU Motorpool is beginning to acquire the new Chevy Suburbans and is leasing around 30 cars from ARI for departmental use. This will result in greater savings to departments, with better accessibility, cleaner, more dependable vehicles and most of all, better customer service.
Thank you to the IU officials, IU Purchasing, Mike Hardesty and the Motorpool mechanics for their diligent efforts to provide us the vehicles with the safety features needed for the IU Judson Mead Geologic Field Station. And thank you again for providing a better vehicle leasing option that better serves the IU community. Call IU Motorpool at 855-3300 for your departmental vehicle needs—SUV’s, cars and minivans.

Some Get It, Some Don’t

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by Peter Kaczmarczyk

Now more than ever you need to join your union.
First, I’ll get out of the way two arguments we often hear against joining: We can’t strike and we can’t negotiate wage amounts. This is true on both counts, but it is a small part of the equation. We do so much more.
If you didn’t have a union, you would have far fewer rights. You could be terminated quickly and easily, without due process or a fair hearing of the facts. You could be moved to another job, put back on probation, and then fired for not performing at your new job. You would have no one to speak for you and defend you in a time of need. You would truly be on your own.
Your union also provides a clear unified voice. We have the ear of the community, the state and local government and the campus, and can often rally them to our defense. We have the ability to organize rallies and protests, such as the one in January, 2007 that played a big role in stopping IU’s drive to outsource all our jobs. This is a fact: state legislators and members of the IU administration have stated this to me in clear, unambiguous language. We stood together, brought in the press, and shamed IU in the court of public opinion, and the result was that IU stopped directly outsourcing our jobs. We got their attention, got them on the defensive, and forced the trustees to reply in the press. As a result, in the face of public outcry, they had to slam on the brakes and stop their outsourcing scheme with just the outsourcing of the bookstores and the motor pool.
So why now more than ever? Because IU is at it again. The current budget, by slashing funding for staff positions, calls for us all to start being outsourced indirectly and replaced by hourly workers. It is a piecemeal approach, cloaked in budgetary excuses but clearly aimed at reducing our ranks, cutting our jobs and benefits, and replacing us with cheap, pliable, workers with few if any rights, benefits and protections.
This is not a joke. They are coming for your job! We all must stand up, and if we all do it together as part of your union with a strong, consistent and clear voice, we can stop it.
Dues are small; we ask little in return, but your membership is imperative. We must show IU we are serious, we must show IU we stand together. They have tried to undermine us, using divide and conquer techniques; we cannot allow this to occur! We must stand up, and you must stand with us.
So please, join now! It has never been more important; the risks if you don’t so great. IU Trustees are out to break the staff and pay for their buildings and projects on your backs, and unless you all stand up and say NO, they will succeed.