Applying Critical Thinking: Analyzing Memo from FSEU Director of Human Resources to President, FSEU Local No. 343
The Illinois State intends to privatize the Department of Transportation (DoT) information systems management function. This function is currently being performed by 75 State employees, 43 of whom are members of Federated State Employee Union (FSEU) Local 343. On May 12, 2010 the Governor of Illinois notified the President of FSEU Local 343 about the State’s intent. The President of FSEU has asked the union members if the union should oppose the outsourcing proposal. On June 5, 2010 the FSEU Director of Human Resources responded to the President of FSEU Local 343 ...view middle of the document...
Keeley. The critical thinking method comprises of eleven questions; answering these eleven questions would enable us to take an educated guess about the authenticity of the memo.
Asking the right questions
Critical thinking consists of an awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions, plus the ability and willingness to ask and answer them at appropriate times (Browne & Keeley, 2007, p. 3). Taking positions on any subject could be based on Weak-sense or Strong-sense critical thinking. Weak-sense critical thinking is the use of critical thinking to defend your current beliefs and Strong-sense critical thinking is the use of the same skills to evaluate all claims and beliefs, especially your own (Browne & Keeley, 2007, p. 10).
According to Browne & Keeley (2007), critical thinking consists of eleven questions listed below (p. 13); we ask these questions individually and try to answer them:
1. What are the issues and the conclusions?
2. What are the reasons?
3. Which words or phrases are ambiguous?
4. What are the value conflicts and assumptions?
5. What are the descriptive assumptions?
6. Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?
7. How good is the evidence?
8. Are there rival causes?
9. Are the statistics deceptive?
10. What significant information is omitted?
11. What reasonable conclusions are possible?
Question one: What are the issues and the conclusions?
The first step is to identify the issues and conclusions in the memo. The issue in the memo is a prescriptive one: Should members of FSEU Local No. 343 oppose the privatization of the State’s DoT information systems management function? The issue is clearly stated at the beginning of the memo. The reasons provided by the author support the conclusion, which is also stated in the recommendations that, the members of FSEU Local No. 343 agree to oppose the privatization of the State’s DoT information systems management function.
Question two: What are the reasons?
The next step is to analyze the memo and find reasons supporting the conclusion. Reasons are explanations or rationales for why we should believe a particular conclusion (Browne & Keeley, 2007, p. 27).
1. Foreign organizations can work for lower wages, which can negatively affect future wages of government employees.
2. If DoT is privatized, other departments will be in line for privatization.
3. Employees will have to be trained with new technology/tools which is not acceptable to older experienced employees who dislike change.
4. There is no guarantee that all FSEU member employees will get a job, some members might end up without a job.
5. One of FSEU member employee’s brothers-in-law is out of job for almost a year. According to him, 80% of the time management does not keep their promises.
6. The State will lose control of information systems and compromise data which is not good for the union as well as citizens.
7. Outsourcing companies will terminate operations if they make losses on the...