University Statement on the Faculty Union's Banners in the Main Campus

Posted March 7, 2019 by Office of the University President

On 05 March 2019, the University faculty union (FAU), aided by some students, placed around the main campus banners dramatizing FAU’s plea for “compensation for services rendered,” attributing “unfair labor practice” to the University administration and with obvious reference to the implementation of the biometric finger scanner to record faculty attendance.

The University wishes to state, as it has already emphasized during numerous meetings with the union leadership and its members, that the biometric finger scanner is nothing more than a device to record faculty attendance. By electronically processing a substantial amount of the University’s personnel transactions, the efficiency of the overall operations of the University is enhanced exponentially.

As this involves the automation of a process, nothing in the system takes any right, emolument, or benefit away from any faculty member, or any University employee for that matter. Neither does the system impose any additional obligation upon them. The University’s introduction of a more convenient and economical method of recording faculty attendance is an exercise of its right as an employer and the implementation of the biometrics system is only an attribute of this right.

It must also be stressed that the University adopted this system not only with the promotion of public accountability in mind, but more importantly, also to ensure that its students are getting the required instruction from their professors within the specified timeline.

In a letter dated 10 January 2018, FAU President Jessica M. Chozas categorically acceded to the use of the biometrics system for recording faculty attendance. While the union’s consent was not necessary for the adoption of the system as this is purely an administration prerogative, the letter is an unequivocal refutation of the union’s own claims. Be that as it may, the University held several meetings with the union to discuss the implications of using the system and to accept suggestions for the crafting of the implementing rules, which eventually took effect on 18 February 2018. Contrary to the union’s allegations, the implementing rules, which incorporated improved versions of the union’s proposals, were actually designed to ensure that all faculty members are fully compensated on time. But in a calculated manner, the union has taken a 180-degree turn and now denies agreeing to the use of the system and rejecting it altogether, including the implementing rules.

The University’s faculty members must be reminded of their sworn duties to the University and its students. As public officers primarily responsible for the education of the youth, it is incumbent upon them to be more responsible in their pronouncements and refrain from resorting to theatrics that only sow confusion and misunderstanding. The faculty union must be transparent enough to its members and student sympathizers and explain that it is the Commission on Audit itself, not the University, which threatens to withhold the faculty members’ salaries should the University still fail to implement the system. Anything less will contribute to the growing consensus that the union leadership is ironically working against the interest of its own members. The faculty union owes it to all stakeholders to be more circumspect in its actions and avoid issuing statements that tend to mislead the uninitiated. The denial of “compensation for services rendered” remains, as it has always been and always will be, in the hands of the faculty members themselves should they opt not to report for work when required by law and their terms of employment.

The University refuses to be further drawn into protracted arguments premised on half-truths and outright lies. It will not be deterred by wild accusations and dilatory tactics. It shall continue formulating policies for the advancement of its goals and to ensure the unconditional commitment by all members of its community to public accountability, however unpopular these policies may be.