PLAINFIELD — Members of Local 2322 of the United Auto Workers, which represents staff at Goddard College, has gone on strike after negotiations with the school administration broke down.
The strike went into effect Friday noon. On Monday, the college issued a statement that indicating talks were continuing.
“We are disappointed by the decision by the (the staff union) to strike on Friday,” according to the statement. “...(W)e believed that the Union and the College had made significant progress in negotiations over the past week and seemed very close to a final settlement.”
The college says it has been working closely with the union to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement since spring 2022. The existing contract expired on June 30, 2022.
The statement indicates the talks continued into Sunday.
The statement goes on to say: “As the College is responsible for the welfare, safety, and success of our students, the choice of the Union to strike when our students are in residency on campus is truly disheartening. Since Goddard is committed to providing the education and services to which our students are entitled, we are extremely grateful for all the staff managers who have been working tirelessly to ensure that the needs of our students are being met.”
Mark Jones, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, stated, “The Goddard Board of Trustees respects the right of our Union members to engage in lawful strike activities and we fundamentally support fair wages for Goddard’s bargaining unit members. We also believe there is a shared commitment to the financial solvency of the College.”
Jones said the board has a “fiduciary duty” to a balanced budget, as well as maintaining ratios so students remain eligible for federal financial aid.
“The Board is acutely aware of the difficulty of Goddard being a primarily tuition-driven institution in an increasingly competitive higher education environment. And the Board has full confidence in (President Dan Hocoy)’s leadership of this College during these challenging times. We support his and the leadership team’s work to ensure the sustainability of the College in this dynamic environment,” according to the statement.
The union announced last Tuesday staff members had voted to authorize a strike, if necessary, during contract negotiations with the school. Staff also voted no confidence in Hocoy.
The union stated staff had asked for a 3% cost-of-living increase, which the school has not been willing to grant unless staff agree to surrender their right to negotiate on working conditions. This was characterized as staff giving up workplace democracy in exchange for financial relief.
On Wednesday, the school issued a statement saying the school offered the 3% increase in salary during negotiations. The statement said officials there were disappointed the staff union “has been unwilling to agree to language regarding management rights that are standard in almost every (contract) in the United States.” Hocoy said in the statement last week, “Student success and the health of the college is our driving goal, and our staff is an important part of serving our students. I have great confidence and trust that the parties will reach a mutually acceptable agreement soon. I look forward to the parties coming together in good faith to reach this common goal.”
However, after contract negotiations broke down between the staff union and administrators, staffers represented by UAW decided they would strike.
The union members say they’ve been fighting for raises for about a year now. Staff members say the college raised wages for the administration but refused to do the same for them.
Dan Hocoy is incompetent as a president. He has a track record of doing a bad job at other schools, and was only hired at Goddard because he has personal relationships with folks on the board, including Trustee Jones (whose comments are obtuse and intentionally misleading).
There would be more dignity for Danny in admitting he’s wrong and stepping down, rather than making a mockery of the school and the collective bargaining process.
By the way, Danny makes north of $200k a year. Make that part of your fiduciary discussion, trustee Jones. Shame on the lot of you board members.
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