Starving the Beast
- Click here to read the President’s Corner
- Click here to read Postponing Academic Leaves: How Does That Work?
- Click here to read the Northern Kentucky University “Starving the Beast” Film Screening and Panel
The following Op-Ed, co-written by AAUP-UC Chapter President Ron Jones and Ohio Conference AAUP President John McNay, appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on January 23rd, and is available to read online here.
On January 7, extreme Kentucky legislators passed right-to-work legislation. Such legislation has been brought forth locally by West Chester Township trustees, and also was touted in a recent op-ed in the Enquirer, which suggested that Ohio should enact a statewide right-to-work law. A more thoughtful analysis shows that right-to-work would be very wrong for Ohio.
Right-to-work advocates want you to believe that workers are “forced” to join a union as a condition of employment. Like the author of the Enquirer op-ed, those who perpetuate this myth know that it is false and misleading. In Ohio and nationally, all employees are free to join or not join a union. Unions are, however, required by law to represent everyone in the collective bargaining unit, and are permitted to collect “fair share” fees from workers who choose not to become members. Without fair share fees, some workers would become “free riders,” able to enjoy the benefits won by the union for free while their fellow employees subsidize them. That’s not fair.
There is little evidence that right-to-work does anything to help communities or attract businesses. On the other hand there is much evidence that right-to-work lowers wages and leads to unsafe working conditions. The average worker in a right-to-work state makes $500 less per month than those in non-right to work states. Work place deaths are 49% more likely. Further, the poverty rate is 15% higher and health benefits are 13% lower in right-to-work states. It is clear that RTW undermines quality of life.
Unfortunately, too many extreme Ohio politicians are eager to make the Buckeye State look like Mississippi or Arkansas, when we ought to be striving to be more like California, the world’s sixth largest economy. California is a state driven by strong infrastructure, skilled union labor, and high levels of education. Those are the keys to success.
If the people of Kentucky had the right to repeal the bad legislation imposed on them, they certainly would, just as the people of Ohio repealed another anti-worker provision in 2011, Senate Bill 5.
It is ironic that these assaults on working people are occurring around the holiday marking the life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. King was right when he said: “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. ”Ohio needs common sense legislation to help middle class families–like a living wage, affordable healthcare, investment in infrastructure, and a real strategy to attract quality jobs—to help middle class families. We need to have as much concern for the employee as we do for the employer. Don’t be fooled. Right-to-work is wrong for the working and middle class, wrong for Ohio, wrong for all of us.
Ron Jones, President
President, Ohio Conference AAUP
A new provision in the 2016–2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) allows for the postponement of an approved academic leave, either at the request of the faculty member or at the request of an Academic Unit or College. With decisions on requests for academic leaves likely in the pipeline, we thought it would be a good idea to review these new rules in Article 25.8, so that if the question of postponement comes up, you can make an informed decision.
The most common reason for a postponement of an academic leave is that several other faculty members in an Academic Unit would also be on leave at the same time, leaving the Unit shorthanded. This reason often dovetails with “financial considerations” (e.g., there is no money in the budget to hire enough adjunct faculty to cover classes). As with previous contracts, “financial considerations” cannot be the sole factor on which a decision to grant or deny an academic leave is based. However, under the new contract, “financial considerations” could be the basis for a postponement—but not a denial altogether. (We have seen some confusion on that point already, so it bears emphasis here.)
Here’s how the process works, step-by-step:
- Postponement of an academic leave is an option only if your academic leave has been approved. In other words, if you don’t apply for academic leave because several other faculty members are applying as well, that is not the same thing as a postponement of your leave. So, you must first apply for, and be approved for academic leave.
- If your academic leave has been approved, either you, your Academic Unit or your College may request that your leave be postponed.
- If the faculty member has requested the postponement, the maximum amount of time that a leave can be postponed is one academic year beyond the period initially approved as the leave period. So, as the example in the contract states, “an academic leave approved for Fall Semester may be requested to be postponed until the following Fall Semester.” Article 25.8.
- If the Academic Unit or College has requested the postponement, the maximum amount of time that a leave can be postponed is typically one academic year beyond the period initially approved as the leave period. However, it can exceed one academic year, but only with “the consent and agreement of the Faculty Member.” Article 25.8.
- If you, the faculty member, want to request postponement:
- You should address the request first to your Academic Unit.
- If your Academic Unit approves, then your request will move to the Dean’s office.
- If the Dean approves, then your academic leave will be postponed.
- If you do not take your leave within one academic year of the period that you were approved for, then your leave will be cancelled.
- If your Academic Unit or College requests postponement:
- The Dean must approve the postponement.
- The postponement can’t exceed one academic year without the consent and agreement of the Faculty Member.
- The duration of the postponement shall count towards your eligibility for your next academic leave. In other words, say that you were approved for academic leave for Fall 2017, and it was postponed for one academic year at the request of your Academic Unit, so you take the leave in Fall 2018 instead. In this circumstance, the academic year 2017-2018 will count toward your eligibility for your next academic leave. This is the key distinction between postponements requested by Faculty Members and those requested by the Academic Unit or College. If a Faculty Member had requested this postponement, then the clock for eligibility for the next sabbatical wouldn’t start running until after Fall 2018.
As always, if you have any questions about this or any other section of the CBA, please email the AAUP-UC Chapter office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Chapter office at 556-6861 and we will be happy to assist you.
On February 13th at 6:30 p.m. Northern Kentucky University will host a special screening and panel discussion of “Starving the Beast,” a documentary that examines the consequences for higher education as public funding is cut.
The film’s website describes “Starving the Beast” as follows:
“As college tuition skyrockets and student debt explodes, a powerful new documentary reveals a nationwide fight for control of the heart, soul and finances of America’s public universities.
Starving the Beast tells the story of a potent one-two punch roiling public higher education right now: 35 years of systematic defunding and a well-financed market oriented reform effort. It’s the story of a little known and misunderstood ideological fight, the outcome of which will change the future of public higher education.”
The panel will be moderated by Mark Canan from WCPO. Panelists will include:
- Karen DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education, Virginia Tech
- Bill Muse, former President of the University of Akron, Auburn University, and Chancellor at East Carolina University
- Makese Motley, Program Manager and Assistant Director at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities
More information about the film is available at film’s website here.
The event will take place in the NKU Student Union Ballroom. There is no fee to attend, but event organizers ask that you RSVP at the following link:
The event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement.