Saturday, April 6, 2013

Letter from Randy Babbitt, Bennett Link, and David Dickensheets

Dear Colleagues,

AFMSU/MEA-MFT’s failure to achieve any substantial improvements in
their first round of negotiations is well documented at  The union’s rebuttal to these failures is
that they need more time to prove themselves.  Since it will not be
possible to decertify AFMSU/MEA-MFT in the future, as explained at, the future of AFMSU governance must be
decided by the faculty now.

The evidence so far suggests that AFMSU will not improve.  The union
claims to be “a transparent, member driven organization,” [1]  where
“all members have a voice and non-members are encouraged to
participate.”[1]  The only open input occurs at their bargaining
forums and “input of all faculty is crucial to the improvement of our
contract.”[2]  Thus, the  success of collective bargaining depends on
faculty participation in these forums.   The union claims in their
e-mails to faculty that these forums are “very successful, gathering
critical input from Members and Non-members alike.“[2]  The truth is
these forums have abysmal attendance, demonstrating that faculty, both
union members and non-members, have not embraced this process.

The AFMSU Contract forums held on December 13th had very poor
attendance.  At the first forum of the day, besides the AFMSU
officers, bargaining team members, and the AFT and MFT organizers,
three decertification supporters (including Bennett Link and Randy
Babbitt) out-numbered other TT faculty.  The following forum that day
was cancelled due to lack of attendance.

Other AFMSU forums have had even worse attendance.

Randy Babbitt (decertification supporter and non-member) attended the
AFMSU Forum to discuss intellectual property policy on March 5th.  The
entire attendance was the TT AFMSU president, a member of the AFMSU
bargaining team, four AFT and MEA-MFT organizers, and only two faculty
members – one NTT faculty and one TT faculty (Randy Babbitt).  How the
input of just one or two faculty will filter through the union
representatives and translate into any positive action is unclear and
will not be known until after the secret negotiations that produce the
CBA are finished.  The intellectual property rights (including on-line
courses, copyrights, and patents) of the MSU TT faculty should not be
decided this way.  This process is very different from the past when
the Technology Transfer Office staff and a dozen concerned faculty
from diverse areas would sit down and discuss intellectual policy
issues, resulting in collaboratively developed proposed policy
changes, that would be put out for extensive comment from the whole TT
faculty, before being debated and voted on by the faculty senate.

The March 26th AFMSU forum on MSU Workload Policy, one of the union’s
priorities and an important issue, should have attracted a large
number of faculty.  This meeting only had two TT faculty members
present for the full meeting – a third faculty eventually joined the
discussion.  One of the TT faculty was David Dickensheets, a TT union
member and decertification supporter.  Two AFMSU officers and one
MEA-MFT/NEA representative rounded out the meeting.

It is clear that union forums to obtain input from faculty are not
working. The “forum” model lacks participation and provides no
mechanism for feedback to or approval from the Faculty prior to
negotiations. As a result, the contents of the next collective
bargaining agreement (assuming the union is not decertified), will be
determined by a small group of union officers with their own
bargaining priorities, as was the case for our current CBA.

We prefer a more inclusive, open, deliberate, and iterative approach
to determining faculty priorities and preferences. We do not wish to
cede our collective Faculty voice to the AFMSU bargaining team, who
cannot speak faithfully on our behalf.

We urge you to vote for decertification.


Randy Babbitt

Bennett Link

David Dickensheets

[1] Myth 8,

[2] AFMSU Email to MSU faculty on Mon 3/25/2013