[Address to General College Faculty Members’ Assembly, ADDU, Finster Hall, January 29, 2016, 4:30 pm)
Thank you all for your presence at this extraordinary College Faculty General Assembly. My absence in January allowed me to participate in the meeting of Superiors and Directors of Work of the Philippines Province, to visit Fr. Patrick Riordan of Heythrop College, and to participate in the annual meeting of Fr. General’s International Conference on Jesuit Higher Education, where I represent the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities of Asia Pacific. The Roadmap of the Philippine Province towards the poor and the peripheries in Mindanao is nearing formal approval, the meeting with Fr. Riordan a warm renewal of friendship despite the wintry wind, and the discussion for the future of higher education in the Society of Jesus as the Jesuits prepare to elect a new General and take stock of its apostolic engagements in GC 36 was stimulating.
But during all of this time my abiding personal worry and concern, which became a major part of my conversation with friends and superiors, and certainly part of my prayer, was the intra-College Faculty Union-Collective Bargaining Unit dispute, that seemed to be worsening, damaging friendships, hurting collegial relations, characterizing persons of convictions different than one’s own as enemies, causing confusion and recrimination, darkening morale and distracting ourselves from the substantial mission that we share as educators of the Ateneo de Davao University. The time has come, I believe, for me to share with you: (1) my take on the issues central to the dispute, and (2) my official position on the events as they have unfolded.
When the management of an entity such as our university and a union such as the College Faulty Union-ADDU (CFU) arrive through negotiation at a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the result should be industrial peace for the declared duration of the agreement. The current CBA that was signed by the CFU and ADDU on December 8, 2014 and is valid until May 31, 2019. Since this was signed and implemented, however, we have not experienced industrial peace. Instead, within the college community we have experienced increasing unrest, quarrels, unhappiness, hurt, recrimination, and frustration.
The disagreement centers on a provision of the CBA that has become contentious, namely Art. 4 on Salaries and Wage, Sec. 6:
“The Management agrees to implement an annual salary increase equivalent to at least 2.5% of the basic salary of the members of the bargaining unit consistent with Sec. 1 of this Article. The members of the bargaining unit and of the union agree and authorise the Management to divide the total amount of the individual member’s 2.5% share equally among the members of the bargaining unit. … The minimum 2.5% is set in consideration of the average inflation rate.”
I would like to share with you that when this startling provision came up in the negotiation process, it surprised me knowing that it would not be without significant cost to certain individuals. I asked, “Does everyone agree to this?” The answer was yes. Thinking about the diminished income this would cause for those who have higher base-pay rates, the answer was yes. At least three times I asked, “Does everyone agree to this?” The answer repeatedly given to me was, “Yes, everyone agrees.”
So I agreed to the provision, and eventually to the entire CBA for 2014-1019. For the record, however, I would like to tell everyone here present, that if the answer to my question were, “No, Father. But a strong majority agrees;” or, “No, Father, but only those with the big salaries disagree;” I would never have signed the CBA. But I was told everyone agreed. And at that time I had no warrant to doubt the word of the CFU representatives.
The reason I would not have agreed if even one person disagreed was because of private property rights of my employees which I as an employer respect.
The provision has two steps. First, the agreement by management that the annual salary [of the individuals of the union and the bargaining unit] would be increased by 2.5% based on basic salary as a measure against inflation. Secondly, an agreement [of the individuals] of the members of the bargaining unit and of the union to authorize management “to divide the total amount of the individual member’s 2.5% share equally among the members of the bargaining unit.” The first step refers to what belongs to the individuals of the unit and of the bargaining unit in salary increase as a measure against inflation. The second step refers an agreement of all, the members of the bargaining unit and of the union, that management can redistribute this amount to all equally.
In the CBA it is not explained why the second part is added. The first part is explained as a measure against inflation. But not the second part. In subsequent personal manifestations, it has been explained as a measure in social justice, or as a measure towards wage increase based not on mere longevity but on productivity. These manifestations do not in themselves jibe with the CBA explanation of the increase as a measure against inflation. As such it is a measure to protect the buying power of our employees, whether young or old, against inflation. In my view, such a measure is provident. Whether one is a young employee dreaming about getting married or an older employee with three children in college and a sick mother, the buying power of these employees should be protected. If the purpose of social justice or of the priority of productivity over longevity is to be favored over inflation, in my view, this must have been agreed to by all involved. In my view, the agreement was an absolutely necessary condition to the legal and moral validity of Sec. 6 art. IV since neither the Ateneo de Davao University management nor the CFU leadership has the right to confiscate the property of our individual employees, whether junior or senior, for an allegedly social justice or political scheme, no matter how lofty, to which the members do not consent.
I approved the CBA in the conviction that everyone in the union and the bargaining unit agreed.
But almost as soon as the approved and ratified CBA was published and its implementation begun, individuals began manifesting that they did not consent to the scheme. This dismayed me, especially since I had been repeatedly told that all consented. The union leaders said all consented, and showed me signatures of those who consented. Others said, they did not consent, and that their signatures were only acknowledgements of receipt of the signing bonus. The union leaders said that the administrators were irresponsible for signing a document they did not thoroughly read and understand. Others said that the material was not explained to them sufficiently. The union leaders said they had given everyone opportunity to understand the provisions of the CBA, had given everyone emailed copies of the documents, had posted copies on the bulletin boards, and that furthermore, for administrators, it was not they but the HRMDO through Rald Lampauog who should have informed them of the negotiations. Others said they had objections to the provision, they had studies of the policy ramifications that would affect everyone negatively, that they wanted to be heard by the CFU as sole representative of the collective bargaining unit. Apparently, meetings were conducted, but they still felt unheard. The union told me they had already heard them; the others told me they had not been heard. This went on and on over the past year.
For me, for the provision where I considered agreement as a constitutive element of the provision (it itself states, “The members of the bargaining unit and of the union agree and authorize the Management to divide the total amount of the individual member’s 2.5% share equally among the members of the bargaining unit.”) and as a moral condition of its just implementation, the manifested lack of consent among some individuals in the faculty was very disturbing For me, no matter the ratified nature of Sec. 6, Art. 4 through a required majority of the CFU it was disturbing that there were members of the Collective Bargaining Unit who were not consenting to the scheme, whether this be because they never ever consented to it, or because despite their signatures they in fact did not consent to it. I asked myself whether the union leaders truly wanted to hold faculty members whom they represent to management to a scheme that they do not in fact agree to, like holding a women or a man to a marriage for which consent was defective. After all, whether judged as highly educated or irresponsible, these were colleagues in a Jesuit educational ministry who had only very human concerns.
So I shared my concern of lack of agreement among some faculty members with the CFU leadership as sole representatives of the college bargaining unit. I asked them to meet with their constituencies to address, discuss and solve their actual problems. I suggested they cold be flexible. I even proposed a scheme to restore lost income in the past year to those adversely affected by Sec. 6. Art. 4 while allowing those who gained to retain their gains in order to allow both sides to address the reality of defective consent freely. I don’t know if this offer was shared with the other members of the union. Apparently, I failed. The Union leaders felt the hard-earned CBA had to be defended, no matter the problems of those adversely affected by it. Not meeting the people with problems was considered a good defense of the CBA.
Here, one must appreciate the distinction between the CFU and the collective bargaining unit, because this led to developments that I considered bizarre and adverse to the interests of the university. For issues such as salary and remuneration, the CFU is the sole representative of the bargaining unit which includes not only college faculty union members, but union faculty members with administrative assignments and administrators with faculty status (cf. Secs. 1 and 2, Art. 2, CBA). Union faculty members with administrative assignment loads and those appointed to administrative positions with faculty status are considered “on leave from the union but remain to be members of the bargaining unit during the term of their appointment.” (Sec.5, Art. 2).
This means that if I as a faculty member with administrative responsibilities have a problem of diminishing buying power of my income because of the equal redistribution of my 2.5% increase among all the members of the bargaining unit, and if my income is now insufficient to maintain the medicines I need for my sick mother, of if I realize that because of this provision my retirement benefits will be significantly reduced, the only entity I have recourse to for discussion of my income problem is the CFU. Were they to come to me as my administrators and I make adjustments in their salaries due to their problems, I would be in violation of the CBA, where the CFU is the sole representative of the bargaining unit.
But as far as I could see, the CFU was not interested in engaging this group of problematic members of the collective bargaining unit. Having sole representation was a power position, and they chose to defend their power through non-engagement. They insisted that as faculty members with administrative positions they were on leave from the union, and so didn’t have a place in a CFU General Assembly. So to whom were the faculty members with problems with Sec. 6 Art IV to go?
Apparently, they tried to go to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). I do not know all the details. It did not call forth the interventions that forced a dialogue and resolution of the conflict.
So, in my view, the hope for a dialogue and resolution that would meet the problems of consent or non-consent to Sec. 6, Art. IV began to focus on the statutory General Assembly of January 21st. I say “statutory” because this did not come from me but from the Constitution of College Faculty Union of Ateneo de Davao University (CFU-ADDU), whose Sec. 1(Regular General Faculty Meeting), Art. IV (Meetings of the Union) states, “A General Membership Meeting shall be called by the Executive Board at least once a year, to be held on the 21st day January.” I read that to be a mandate of the Constitution to the Executive Board (note mandatory “shall”!) that goes out of its way to specify January 21st as the day on which it would be held. The specification makes January 21st mandatory. I did not write the Constitution, but I surmise that the reason its framers specified a particular day for a General Membership Meeting was so that people can expect it on this day, so that members with business pertinent to the General Membership Meeting can take it up on that day, and to protect it from arbitrary re-scheduling even by the Executive Board. Seeing this provision, I must say I expected the CFU-ADDU Executive Board, as mandated by its Constitution, to call a Faculty General Assembly on this particular day.
Anticipating this day, a group of administrators resigned their positions in order to be able to participate in the CFU General Membership Meeting. This is what I honestly considered bizarre. In a situation where the earned income of my employees with administrative assignments is dependent on the sole representation of the CFU, that they needed to resign to undo their leave from the union just so that their concerns might be heard was bizarre I wondered: isn’t there a better way members on leave might be heard by their mother union other than through resignation of their administrative service? Could the CFU not have said, “We are having a General Membership Meeting in which we will hear the personal concerns of fellow faculty members now rendering the university administrative service? After all, their leave was probably to avoid a conflict of interest between administrators and the teachers they direct. But what they now wished to discuss had nothing to do with administration-teacher relations, but only the manner their compensation was being handled. The way they were being treated, however, was like they were diseased and not at all welcome in the CFU. In this context, I can think of Jesuits who are on leave from the Society of Jesus but still welcome to our houses, or policemen suspended from service yet welcome at meetings which concern their income and benefits. Honestly, I could not understand the attitude of the CFU leadership to their own members in administrative positions. So when I was told that a number of administrators needed to resign to be able to participate in a General Membership Meeting, what was I to say? Don’t resign and remain unheard? My attitude was, “I accept your resignation. But after you have been appropriately heard, I would like to re-appoint you to your positions.” I accepted their resignations and others’ who had resigned after them. Of course, their having resigned, I am not constrained to re-appoint them. And there are some cases where I will really not re-appoint them. But where I will re-appoint, I will re-appoint. That is a management prerogative of my office.
Most of the resignations came on the 24th of November, automatically effective after 30 days. With the resignation of a large number of administrators, what was for over a year had been merely an intra-union dispute to be solved without intervention from management, now directly affected the operation of the University, especially the coordinated service of our students. I needed to act. The first step was again to talk to the union. I wanted to explore whether the 21st of January meeting might be advanced to the earlier part of January in the interest minimizing the effect of the fall-out of the union conflict on the students. The response I got was that this was not possible. The union needed all of the time before the 21st to conduct labor education sessions with their members. But in this response, my firm understanding was that they would hold the General Membership Meeting on the 21st of December. I neither called nor suggested this meeting. It was the statutory membership meeting that the Executive Board was mandated to conduct.
I sincerely hoped that the Holy Spirit would be present in this meeting softening positions, allowing people to listen to one another and come to consensus on conflicting positions. You may recall that this was the subject of several of my homilies during the Mass of our Pre-Christmas party and during Simbang Gabi which I published in InSite. I prayed that the discouragement and frustration that seemed to characterise the stalemate between the CFU union leaders and those who had concerns would be replaced by consolation and hope. In my Notes published on the day I left for abroad, I again expressed this hope, this prayer, and I asked people to join me in prayer for this intention daily. I also shared my views on the key issues that were involved, signalling that it would affect the further implementation of the provision. Allow me to quote, since these notes became the warrant for a grievance proceeding that the CFU filed against me on January 20, 2016, the day before the course of our college history changed.
“…on January 21, the College Faculty Union (CFU) will have its statutory General Assembly (GA). Some of our key administrators have resigned their administrative positions in order to be able to participate legally in this GA. Before January 21, I ask all to pray daily that the GA be an occasion for genuine dialogue, reconciliation of positions, and strengthening both of the CFU and of its bargaining unit that it represents.
“Even a statutory exercise such a GA cannot be abstracted from our obligations to one another in Christian charity. As I mentioned during our Pre-Christmas liturgy, prayer over the beautiful words of 1 Cor. 13 may be appropriate:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor 13:1-7 ff).
“I pray that the GA be an occasion for genuine listening to the positions of others in Christian love. Where we have expertise in mediating dialogue and reconciliation for those whom we serve, I ask that we now help ourselves through such dialogue in love. I pray that any form of a priori condemnation of the other’s position be suspended and any form of hateful demonization of the other be avoided.
“I pray that through dialogue at the GA all come to a deeper appreciation of the CBA provision that has unfortunately become contentious and divisive in our community. There is, as I understand it, on the one hand, the desire to bring about a more equitable form of remuneration based on performance and social justice; on the other hand, there is an appreciation of understanding and consent as a condition for carrying out this particular project in social justice. There is the position that the consent was given in the ratification by majority of the CBA, no matter the deficiencies in understanding of the provision when ratification occurred. There is, however, also the formal position taken by some individuals that they have not consented and do not consent to the CBA provision and the effects it has on their income and private property rights.”
In these Notes, I also clearly expressed what I needed from the Union. I needed guidance on how it expected me to further implement Sec. 6, Article 4.
“In representation of management, I would have to understand how the CFU wishes management to implement section 6, article 4, which posits consent of all in the union and bargaining unit. In the manifest absence of this consent, I would need to know how the CFU wishes me to implement the provision without infringing on the private property rights of some of the faculty members, be they in the union or in the bargaining unit, whom the CFU represents. I sincerely pray that this is clarified during the GA.
“I ask the CFU and all in our community further to consider that from the viewpoint of the social doctrine of the Church private property rights have always been protected, and that the term “social justice” as morally compelling for the “common good” (where each person and all in society flourish as human beings under given historic condition) is much larger than the “common good” of faculty members at Ateneo de Davao. An individual faculty member may not consent to a redistribution scheme involving his private property because he feels the imperative to use his property in social justice to support poor teachers working with IPs rather than junior members of the ADDU faculty.
“Consider further that even in the way the Lord deals with us in inviting us to the Kingdom of God, he does not do so without our consent. It is mysterious. But even the whole history of salvation was made contingent on the human consent of a virgin. His saving acts were always made contingent on the consent of faith.
“I wish the CFU GA every success!”
With all due respect to those who have concluded otherwise, I did not consider that an anti-union statement. I did not consider it in any way interference in the affairs of the union. But I did consider it a manifestation of a genuine concern I had for where things were going after a year of empty wrangling and desolation: only to further destruction of faculty relationships and to deeper and deeper deterioration of the faculty moral. In stating the issues clearly, and in calling for genuine dialogue not only between officers and members of the union and bargaining unit, but also between brothers and sisters in the Lord, I did consider myself to be acting against the desolation of the situation by calling on God and one another for help.
For these Notes the CFU filed a three-page “CFU Complaint Against Undue Interference on Union Activities.” Basically, I was “interfering” because in my “letter” (sic) I pointed to the non-consent of some of the members of the bargaining unit which they chose in their power position to deny, and secondly, “in clear violation of the rights of the Union you tried to make it appear in your letter (sic) that there will be a General Assembly by the Union this January 21, 2016.” I was then told: “Please be informed that the ADDU Management has no authority to call a Union General Assembly in the CFU-ADDU By-Laws. … only the Executive Board has the sole and exclusive authority to call for a regular General Membership Meeting of the CFU-ADDU members.”
But if I pointed out the truth, inconvenient to the union leaders, that there were some individuals who did not agree with Sec. 6 Art. IV, despite their conviction that all agreed, I do not consider that interference but a statement of a concern that begged for attention of the appropriate body in genuine dialogue with those involved. Again, it was not I who called the General Assembly, it was the CFU-ADDU Constitution.
In the firm belief that this statutory general assembly would be held, Bong Eliab, my Officer in Charge, and Rald Lampauog kept on asking the union leadership when and where it would be held. Their repeated questions were not accorded the courtesy of an answer. So not only were the members of the faculty kept in the dark as to when and where their statutory meeting would take place, management was kept in the dark. And Fr. Gaby rightly said it would be unfair to the students if they would come for classes, then faculty would just declare “faculty leave” to not teach to participate in a General Assembly. So without any definite time or venue from the union, but considering the statutory nature of General Assembly on January 21st, Bong Eliab as OIC called off classes for that day.
When on the 20th of Jan, the same day I was slapped with a grievance proceeding, the CFU President, Albert Jubilo, addressing the “Active CFU-ADDU Member” characteristically “in good faith,” called for “its REGULAR GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING tentatively this coming February 26, Friday,” it was not, as he claimed, “pursuant to the provision of the Union Constitution By-Laws” but in clear violation of Section I, Article 4 which mandates the Executive Board to call the General Membership Meeting on January 21st. In this light, what was the CFU President, and not even the Executive Board, doing calling it for February 26, and but tentatively at that? From this viewpoint, it was not I who was interfering with the regular operation of the CFU-ADDU, but its President. He was denying his constituents opportunity to access the regular General Assembly to air their personal concerns.
In Rome I was truly dismayed hearing this: not that a grievance charge had been filed against me despite my track record of personal support beyond expectation for the CFU-ADDU, but because in postponing the CFU-ADDU General Membership Meeting to some nebulous future date, he was really denying his faculty members access to the only body that could process their concern for their private incomes, and condemning the faculty as a whole to an unending spiral of frustration, recrimination and demoralisation. This I knew would have harrowing effects on our operation.
In my resolve not to allow this, I gave our University Counsel instructions to begin preparations for a suspension by management of its implementation of Sec 6, Art. 4 until the CFU and its oppositors or an appropriate labor arbiter or court could instruct me on how to implement it without violating the private property rights of certain of my faculty. Atty. Quibod began working on an interpleader immediately, through which all increases would be placed in a special fund submitted to the disposition of either the labor arbiter or the courts. Once this dispute was placed in the hands of a third party, I hoped that I could return our operation to normal, no matter how difficult this may have been. This was my prayer from Rome.
It is for others to tell you what happened in the hearts and minds of faculty members in response to Mr. Jubilo’s postponement of the General Membership Meeting. Some considered the charge of management interference unfair. Some were baffled at the charge of interference of some deans, assistant deans, chairs and heads of offices with Union affairs, when their concerns had not been listened to by the union officers. Some were irked at threats of criminal charges against faculty members who would attend a faculty meeting on Jan. 21st. Some considered the unavailability of the legal counsel and of the Union president for a statutory General Assembly unacceptable. Expressions of surprise, shock, anger, confusion, argumentation and recrimination, I hear, were rife in various conversations and forms of the social media.
I understand then that a meeting of faculty members was called for 1:00 pm in F 213 on January 21st. Others will be able to relate the details of this meeting better than I can. But with certain administrators present as welcome observers, the faculty members who came were not only sufficient for a quorum for a formal meeting, they were a strong majority. The majority of faculty members, bonafide members of the CFU-ADDU confirmed, it was moved that the faculty meeting declare itself as the General Membership Meeting. The motion was carried. The majority faculty members thus claimed in this General Membership Meeting the sovereign power of their union. The meeting had been mandated by the CFU Constitution for that day, but postponed by the CFU President had postponed for another tentative date. Declaring lack of trust and confidence in the officers of their union, the General Assembly declared their positions vacant. Then, after establishing a COMELEC, they proceeded by secret ballot to elect new officers. Those officers are as follows:
Dr. Judith Dalagan, President
Mr. Rex Rola, Vice President
Dr. Rosalinda Tomas, Secretary
Dr. Robert Orcajada, Treasurer
Mr. Karlo Dalangin, Auditor
Mr. Ian Marc Cabugsa, PIO/PRO
Mr. Alfredo Alpas, Board of Directors
Dr. Joval Afalla, Board of Directors
Engr. Robert Romero, Board of Directors
Ms. Marlina Dayrit, Board of Directors
Among her first formal acts, Dr. Judith Dalagan furnished the HRMDO and thereby also me, as well as the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), copies of the results of the General Assembly and of the election of new officers. Since there was a majority of faculty members who in a General Assembly voted these officers into office, DOLE recognises them.
Meanwhile, in a letter that was sent to me yesterday, Dr. Albert Jubilo, still under the title of CFU-ADDU President, referred to January 21 as “a Day of Infamy,” reiterated his charge of my interference in union matters in my Notes of Jan 4, referred to the “deceptive resignations” of the administrators, their lack of interest in the “union’s independence and integrity” who disregarding the announcement of the GA on the 26th of February “committed the act of mobilising the rank-and-file and some administrators, and calling a meeting to install a new set of officers to the union. …. They completed the act with a declaration of ‘lack of confidence’ without challenge, pronouncement of vacancy of the executive board without due process, and consummation of the election with blatant disregard for the constitution and by-laws of the union. It confirmed our suspicion: dialogue was the selling point to secure quorum and eventually, and impeachment using the number game.”
And the end of the letter, Dr. Jubilo, calls on the University President as the official representative of management “to honor, preserve and protect our existing Collective Barganing Agreement (CBA) effective June 2014 until May 2019.
“We call on you to denounce the illegal acts committed by some resigned administrators and to foster respect of law.”
They call on all to inform themselves about the existing CBA “in order to recall their actions last Jan. 21 and to embrace accountability of their actions to spare the President and the University from all possible complications or ramifications.”
They “exhort the University President and other management officials to CEASE, DESIST and REFRAIN from doing questionable acts which will put undue influence or undue interference to the internal affairs of the CFU as well as CEASE, DESIST and REFRAIN from recognizing the illegal General Assembly held last January 21 and from dealing, engaging and transacting with the illegally-elected officers, who are actually usurpers of the CFU-ADDU Executive Board.”
“Otherwise, we shall be constrained to formally insititue CIVIL, CRIMINAL and LABOR ACTIONS to protect the interest of the CFU. Obviously, the questionable anti-Union bias and acts of of the Management are so DIVISIVE to the Ateneo community.”
Yesterday, Dr. Jubilo also filed a formal complaint “for an illegal assembly or meeting” against Dr. Patria Malalaysay, Dr. Reynante Pilapil, and Mr. Ricardo Enriquez, praying for my prompt action on this matter.
Dr. Jubilo’s tone was arrogant and threatening. His assessment of Jan. 21st one-sided and prejudiced. While asking for the support of the University President, he was also threatening him, and if I might say so, insulting him. Was the CFU now to gag the President from speaking about the welfare of his faculty members if his position deviated from the position of CFU, or to punish him for reading and understanding the CFU-ADDU Constitution and its provisions and expecting them to be followed?
But there was one other thing that Dr. Jubilo missed in his letters of January 28th. What he missed was: as of the General Membership Meeting that took place on January 21st, he is no longer President of the CFU-ADDU Union, Judith Dalagan is, not merely by virtue of my recognition or that of DOLE, but by virtue of the will of the majority of the college faculty members. Based on that clear majority, it is not Judith Dalagan who is the usurper, but he.
So I am acting favorably on the request of the new union officers, and am directing herewith the University Treasurer:
to turn over all collections pertinent to the Union Check-Off provision of the CBA to Dr. Roberto Orcajada, the new CFU Treasurer;
to provide the CFU officers with a list of all members of the CFU who are assessed with union dues and the list of all members of the CBU who are assessed with agency fees.
I am asking my General Assistant, Bong Eliab, to provide the CFU officers with a list of all University Committees where CFU representation is expected.
I am directing Fr. Denny Toledo to turn over to the new officers the official CFU email account for their official communications.
I am directing Ms. Su Doromal to give the key to the CFU office in the Community Center of First Companions to this set of officers.
I congratulate the new officers of the CFU. I salute the majority of faculty members who elected you into office; I hope they will sustain you in office by their abiding encouragement and support. I pray you will always prove yourselves worthy of their support. I hope we can now move on. I hope we can work together in bringing forward of the Vision and Mission of the university with due appreciation and provision for the welfare of all our faculty members, both in the union and in the collective bargaining unit. I exhort you to strengthen those who agree with you, to reach out to those who disagree with you, and to serve your trade union with due recognition of the “trade” you represent, not a trade of illiterate laborers, but a “trade” of higher education specialists in constant pursuit of truth. Your labor is not just of muscle and brawn, but of diligent study and assiduous research, of expert self-expression and competent presentation, of service to the community and advocacy for truth and justice. Your tools are not hammers and chisels, pliers and screwdrivers, but logic and reflection, data and evidence, argument and reason, conversation and dialogue. Your motivators are not prescriptive rules and threats of lawsuits, but freedom and joy in truth. Your union is not the union of the herd nor the union of the manipulated, but the union of minds and hearts, and where so graced, even of faith. Your strength is in your friendship, in your willingness to pull together in crisis, in your respect for one another, your understanding for each other’s problems, your willingness to take care of each other in love, as God takes care of us in love. This means: even to forgive each other’s trespasses, as God forgives us our own.
After the General Assembly on January 21st, I understand many were rejoicing; some were in tears. I understand many in fact went to the new Chapel of our Lady of the Assumption to join the 5:00 pm Eucharist. Perhaps, they went recognizing the Holy Spirit in the events of the day. Perhaps, at that Eucharist, in the breaking of the bread, they too recognized the silent source of the union’s strength: In union, yes. But more profoundly, in communion.