Achievements

THE AFT IN IDAHO (1974-2017):
43 YEARS OF ACHIEVEMENTS
UI Federation, LCSC Federation, BSU Federation,CSI Federation, ISU Federation, NIC Federation, and CWI Faculty Federation

1974 The ISU administration fired Rufus Lyman, a tenured biology professor. Lyman filed suit and was reinstated by a federal judge. The ACLU provided attorneys and the AFT paid all court costs.

1975 The AFT launched a campaign for collective bargaining legislation and won a majority vote (2-1 at UI) on four campuses in support of such legislation. A higher education bargaining bill, written and introduced by the AFT, lost on a tie vote in the Senate HEW Committee.

1976 Larry Quinn, LCSC history professor and local AFT vice-president, was denied tenure. The SBOE refused to hear an appeal, so Quinn filed suit, receiving $2,500 in legal aid from the national AFT. In an out-of-court settlement, Quinn was reinstated at CSI with a $5,000 settlement.

1977 The UI Federation began work on an open files policy, which was finally passed by the UI faculty in 1980 and is now state policy for all institutions. This policy prevents the establishment of secret personnel files and allows faculty members to remove adverse documents from their files.

1979 UI biology professor Homer Ferguson’s rights were violated in a tenure review hearing. The national AFT committed $12,000 to the case and Ferguson eventually won an out-of-court settlement of an unspecified amount. This case proved crucial in ultimately mitigating the adverse effects of automatic tenure review policies.

1980 After years of hard work by the AFT, the Ul faculty voted 99-51 in favor of giving full due process to non-tenured faculty. The Board continues to deny this faculty mandate even though several of its past members admitted that refusing to give reasons is immoral.

1981 Tom Hale, ISU history professor and local AFT president, was fired by the ISU administration. With $25,000 in legal aid from local, state, and national sources, Hale filed suit and then won the largest first amendment settlement ($100,000) in Idaho legal history.

1981 The Board declared financial exigency in Ag Research and Extension and 17 faculty members, 11 of them tenured, appeared on a lay-off list. Extension professor Lois Pace requested legal aid from the AFT.

1982 Lois Pace filed suit against the SBOE because of her dismissal under the financial exigency of 1981. More than $40,000, 90 percent from AFT sources, was raised for Pace’s legal fees. In 1984 she won her case in district court.

1983 AFT initiated a revision of the UI faculty appeals procedures after protesting a series of presidential vetoes of appeal board decisions. AFT action on this matter has virtually eliminated this specific administrative abuse.

1983 Primarily as a result of the Ferguson case, the SBOE revised tenure review policies such that the five-year tenure reviews are no longer automatic.

1984 Lois Pace won her suit, but an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court held up any settlement. Seven other UI faculty members laid off in 1981 filed suit in the wake of the Pace victory. The AAUP led an investigation of the Pace case and placed the UI on its list of censured institutions.

1985 After receiving almost monthly statewide complaints from ag faculty, UI Federation agreed to hold a no-confidence vote for Dean Ray Miller. With 65 percent of the ag faculty voting, 55 percent voted to remove Miller from office. Within a year Miller left the UI. Later the UI Federation was asked to help in removing him as dean at the University of Maryland.

1986 The Idaho Supreme Court ruled there were other alternatives to laying off tenured professors to alleviate the 1981 financial exigency. By the end of the year the SBOE settled with Lois Pace, who received $40,000 cash, $45,540 in legal fees, and $2,000 a month for life.

1986-88 Settlements were negotiated in each of the seven other cases from the 1981 financial exigency. The total amount (including Pace) came to over $1 million.

1989 The AFT actively promoted the candidacy of Elisabeth Zinser as Richard Gibb’s successor. Before assuming office, Zinser negotiated UI’s removal from the AAUP censure list.

1990 Pat Lewis, an ISU nursing professor, requested legal aid for her grievance in the Department of Nursing. She received $1,500 from the IFT Defense Fund.

1992 After years of AFT lobbying, President Zinser finally appointed David Walker as the UI’s first ombudsman.

1997 Norma Sadler, BSU education professor, won a pay equity suit with a settlement of $157,500. The national AFT and IFT combined forces to grant her $15,000 in legal aid.

2001 A tenure review vote went against UI Interior Design professor Steve Thurston. The AFT decided to support Thurston on the basis of flawed procedure and administrative harassment. The AFT offered moral and legal support and the dean backed off.

2002 In October, without any faculty consultation, the SBOE instituted a policy for discontinuing programs that failed to provide sufficient due process for faculty. In a letter to the SBOE, IFT President Nick Gier insisted that these procedures at least be equivalent to those for financial exigency.

2002 Using the new procedures for discontinuing programs, the UI College of Engineering fired six professors in mining and geological engineering. AFT and AAUP intervention, plus assertive action on the part of the professors affected, saved the jobs of three tenured faculty.

2003 UI Art professor Glenn Grishkoff passed his third-year review with flying colors, but the liberal arts dean fired him instead. An appeal to the Provost, backed by letters from 30 national peers, was rejected. A total of $10,200, including $6,900 from an art auction, was raised for his case.

2005 Two tenured faculty members at North Idaho College were dismissed in May. By the end of the year an attorney hired by the IFT negotiated a $94,297 settlement. The AAUP national office sent a strong letter indicating violation of tenure rights.

2007 The UI Federation took on its first whistleblower case and has convinced the UI administration to change its policies on employees who are disciplined for reporting unsafe or inappropriate actions.

2008 The IFT introduced a bill in the 2008 Idaho Legislature that would give collective bargaining rights to all higher education employees. The representative bodies on five campuses voted 158 to 18 to support the legislation.

2009 On the basis of legal advice from the national AFT office, the IFT Higher Education Council issued a report stating that the program reduction procedures mentioned above were “severely deficient” and that the AFT would defend any Idaho faculty member should be laid off under them.

2009 The UI Parma Research Station was scheduled to be closed, but an AFT attorney wrote a brief that convinced Governor Otter and UI President Nellis to reconsider the decision.

2009 The BSU Federation asked for a legal opinion about new contract language and was informed that it was illegal. The union suit was withdrawn when it was clear that the SBOE was determined to give campus executives absolute power over all personnel matters.

2009 The BSU Federation asked for a legal opinion about new contract language and was informed that it was illegal. The union suit was withdrawn when it was clear that the SBOE was determined to give campus executives absolute power over all personnel matters. (See below).

2009 The UI College of Agriculture and Life Sciences announced that the Parma Research Station would be closed on December 31. A combination of hard lobbying by growers and the threat of legal action by the union forced the UI to rescind the decision.

2009 On the basis of legal advice from the national AFT office, the IFT Higher Education Council issued a report stating that the program reduction procedures mentioned above were “severely deficient” and that the AFT would defend any Idaho faculty member should be laid off under them.

2010 IFT President Nick Gier condemns SBOE’s revision of personnel policies which undermined due process rights for all campus employees. He warned that legal action and national censure may ensue. Gier’s column appears in three major Idaho newspapers.

2012 After substantial amounts of local, state, and national legal resources were invested in the Habib Sadid case, it was a tremendous disappointment to learn that a federal judgment ruled in favor of Idaho State University. In 2009 an appeal board ruled 4-1 that there no grounds for his termination, but President Arthur Vailais fired him anyway. This award-winning teacher and researcher will be sorely missed.

2013 Professor Sanjay Gupta, a potato specialist at the Kimberly Research Station, was fired after his lab assistant filed sexual harassment charges against him. A faculty appeal board ruled 3-2 in his favor. The majority concluded that some evidence was falsified and that virtually every charge could be given a plausible rebuttal. The UI local, state, and national AFT has offered him moral and financial support.

2014 The UI Faculty Federation voted to send a strong resolution to Governor “Butch” Otter and top legislator urging them to withdraw legislation allowing guns on Idaho campuses.

2015 The IFT Executive Council voted an additional $3,000 for the Gupta case, and with a national grant of $10,833, the total for local, state, and national funds for Gupta is now $20,833.

2016 After losing at summary judgment the UI administration settled the Gupta case for $400,000. Gupta is now a research associate at the University of Minnesota and the union is helping him rebuild his career.

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