Our Weekly Reader for the Week of 3/3/2013

Another week where more was going on behind the scenes than in the public eye. Deep thanks to all who have suggested links.

1. Labor: (a) SEIU announced its intention to strike if negotiations (which are continuing) do not work out.http://www.news-gazette.com/news/business/employment/2013-02-25/union-ready-strike-against-ui-last-resort.htmlhttp://www.dailyillini.com/news/campus/article_54696c96-7fd1-11e2-bdf5-0019bb30f31a.html(b) AFSCME and Gov. Quinn reach a not-completely-public agreement


2. Pensions:

(a) Several new proposals, one supported by labor groups and one which went down in flames. Links are chronological

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-new-pension-reform-plan-surfaces-in-springfield-20130227,0,7957901.story (2/27)

http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/supporters-hopeful-about-new-bipartisan.html (2/27)

http://progressillinois.com/news/content/2013/02/28/house-scheduled-address-pension-reform-today (2/28)

UPDATE 1 (4:57 p.m.): The House rejected Madigan’s proposals. The proposals to end COLAs for retirees was voted down 66-2 and the amendment to cease COLAs until the system is 80 percent funded failed by a 62-5 vote. The amendment to raise the retirement age was denied by a 66-1 vote and the plan to have employee contributions raised by 5 percent went down in flames by a 61-3 vote.

Republicans did not vote on the amendments at all, arguing that the piecemeal approach was “a joke”, according to House Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego).

“The House forcefully rejected unfair, unconstitutional pension cuts today,” the We Are One Coalition said in a statement. “Lawmakers should build on this momentum to abandon tired approaches and work with us on serious, coalition-endorsed legislation, starting with House Bill 3162 and Senate Bill 2404.”

http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/more-test-votes-coming-on-pensions-and.html (2/28)

(b) Go to the invaluable suaa.org. The last link contains considerable information about health insurance costs. I did not realize that the AFSCME contract is directly relevant to SURS, but that is apparently the case.
February 27, 2013
actionTrack Report 02.27.2013
Click Here to read the report

February 28, 2013
Mini Briefing 02.28.2013
Click Here to read the Mini Briefing

March 2, 2013
AFSCME Negotiated Health Insurance Premiums
Click Here to read the Mini Briefing

3. President Easter and Chancellor Wise were on WILL. See in particular the incisive comment by Prof. Barnum of UIC about the peculiar $1billion reserve fund the U of I has been able to accumulate in the last several years.


4. Other items of interest

(a) The horrifying dehumanization of work (putting the metrics in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927)).


(b) There are major governance issues involving Chicago State University and Southern Illinois University, here are recent stories:



5. Finally, in the world of MOOCs. Carnegie-Mellon is going in a different direction, and folks are trying to figure out on-line proctoring.




Remember the new site http://www.uillinois.edu/cms/one.aspx?portalId=1117531&pageId=1250351 I think they must have a new disgraced ex-administrator doing this while collecting a large salary. There are several instances where pages are scanned at an angle or put in the wrong order

2/25 — p.6 (NG) on computer forensics, overseen by Prof. Roy Campbell: Tip #3 — check to see whom the copy of WORD is registered to …
2/25 — pp.23-25 (DI,NG) Potential AFSCME strike, now apparently moot.
2/25 — pp.30-36 (various) On the new open access for federally-funded research
2/25 — pp.50-60 (IHE) “Survey finds pay for senior administrators is up) As Jim Nabors would say “Surprise, surprise!)

2/26 — p.1 (NG) “SEIU issues notice it plans to strike soon”, see above
2/26 — pp.10-12 (Trib) “Chicago State University president steps down // Some question school’s decision to give Wayne Watson 1-year sabbatical without public meeting”. It’s 250K for one year, then he retirees. “Watson, 67, who was greeted with boos from faculty and students when he was hired….”
2/26 — pp.15-17 (NYT) “Obama’s Treasury nominee got unusual exit bonus on leaving NYU” — He had been exec vp, making $700K/yr and $685K bonus when he left for Citigroup. Yet another example of how high-level administrators are treated exactly like professors!

2/27 — pp.30-32 (Trib) “Who’s the president at Chicago State University?”

2/28 — p.7 (bnd.com) “Higher education funding impearled by budget woes” sic, sic, sic!
2/28 — p.22 (Trib) “Test votes set for pension reform” (I do not think the word “reform” means what you think it means.)
2/28 — pp.23-24 (NG) “New proposal shifts costs to schools” (Note that article starts on p.24)
2/28 — pp.32-34 “Carnegie Mellon’s online efforts include spinoffs and subsidiaries but not MOOCs”, see above

3/1 — pp.2-3 (NG) “Plans to fix pensions go nowhere on House floor”. (I do not think the word “fix” means what you think it means, unless you are a pet.)
3/1 — pp.4-6 (NG) “AFSCME negotiator: deal trades raises for health costs”
3/1 — pp.7-8 (Trib) “GOP decries `another day of games’ on pension reform // Series of proposals would have curtailed benefits; Republicans refuse to vote”
3/1 — pp.12-13 (Southern) “The gloves come off Poshard:Herrin tangle at SIU Board meeting”
3/1 — pp.14-15 (Trib) “Chicago State board meets to settle question: Who’s president?”, “Chicago State leader fires back at board”
3/1 — pp.17-19 (NYT) “Concerns that Texas Regents are micromanaging colleges”