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Professors sign petition to vote on faculty union

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Nov 29 2012 10:50:15 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Professor Pat Callis has been teaching at MSU for more than 40 years.

"I teach physical chemistry" he said. On Thursday afternoon, he was preparing a midterm test for students.

"I have nine questions on it" he said, as he went over the test.

Callis said he loves teaching and researching.

"You can't imagine the amount you learn while you're being a professor" he said.

But recently, he learned about a completely different matter- a petition that would give him the vote on whether to keep the faculty union.

"I'm just philosophically against unions in universities" Callis said. "I think that's the one place they don't belong."

He signed the petition, along with 120 others. He thinks the three-year old union isn't necessary. Some professors say the union is costly, and not worth it.

The union represents 400 tenured and tenure-track professors, and focuses on increasing professor salaries. President Sandy Osborne said they've made headway, winning $400,000 in additional pay- and guaranteeing that professors who earn promotions receive raises.

"If people are here because they want to make a lot of money, they're in the wrong place" Callis said.

The professor said he doesn't think salaries should be such a major player. So he's hoping the group spear-heading the petition reaches the required 125 plus signatures to authorize a vote.

"Then we'll have some real open debate, and maybe things will be more clear for everybody involved" Callis said.

What's clear for him- get rid of the union.

If the petition passes, we're told tenured and tenure-track professors will be able to make the vote on whether to keep or knock down the union.