The administration wanted to drive a wedge among department chairs. The chairs of large departments were going to have their salaries raised to a 12-month contract, while the smaller departments would have theirs cut down to a 9-month contract.
Thankfully, we aren’t stupid. We saw immediately that it was being done in preparation for an announcement in a couple of years that this is inequitable and now everybody’s salary would have to be cut down to 9 months. Just for fairness’ sake, obviously.
Chairs stood together in solidarity. Not a single one broke the ranks and agreed to a raise at the cost of the colleagues. And as a result, we all ended up with an 11-month contract.
That’s how you do it. Austerity works by pitting people against each other. Resist every attempt to divide and conquer, and you’ll win. The administration worked heavily their favorite angle of “but isn’t it unfair that you work more and get paid the same?” If we had bought into it, soon enough it would be “but isn’t it unfair those other bastards get paid more than you? Let’s cut them down to size.” First, they bring down the weakest and then use them to attack the strongest. But if we don’t buy into this primitive manipulation, we are unbeatable.
Lets all remember this lesson.