In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, the first ILR representative was elected to the Employee Assembly since the assembly’s restructuring two years ago.
Anne Sieverding, an administrative assistant in the international and comparative labor department in ILR, will now serve as the ILR representative for the E.A. She has been at Cornell since 1980, starting her time in the ILR school in the late 1990s as a research assistant. She also received a degree from the ILR school in 2005 through Cornell’s employee degree program.
Sieverding has since worked in administrative support positions serving her interests in labor issues and human resources issues.
She recently became interested in “getting more involved at a level wider than the ILR school,” she told The Sun, and has participated in intra-ILR bodies including the ILR staff association.
“The ILR seat on the E.A. has been vacant for a whole bunch of years, and I am moving towards retirement and I’m bound to have time. It seemed like a good time to expand and get involved with a little bit of a larger role,” she said.
This is also a unique time for the ILR school with the proposed recommedation to restructure social sciences at Cornell. A recent report was released by the Committee on the Organizational Structure of the Social Sciences that proposed merging the ILR school and the College of Human Ecology, among other changes, as previously reported by The Sun.
“[ILR] is undergoing some considerable changes so it might be an interesting time to report staff concerns,” Sieverding said.
According to Craig Wiggers, chair of the employee assembly, the E.A. changed the “organization structure of representation” two years ago from “endowed/statutory, exempt/non-exempt to a structure of colleges and affinity groups.” Due to the change, there has not been a representative from the ILR school on the assembly for the past two academic years.
After the spring 2018 round of elections, the position was again left vacant. Due the incidental vacancy procedures of the E.A., an internal vote is allowed to fill the position.
Possible reasons for the lack of representation include the time commitment of the E.A. and staff members being heavily involved, Sieverding said. She sought the role because she is moving to part-time work and will have more time in her schedule.
“I think it’s a big commitment. The ILR school has staff people who are over-committed. I am sure that happens everywhere,” she said. “It’s always the same people. Those people are already overcommitted, they are doing other committees, and doing other things.”
Sieverding will take over her new role at the beginning of the new session on May 30. She plans to learn more about the “what the possibilities are, the identities are, what people do, and how [she] can best contribute” to the E.A. as she takes on her new position.
“My main goal is to represent the ILR school staff members, get some input from them and provide some feedback,” Sieverding said.