As you have read in previous communications, the AAUP- Chapter voted to oppose state issue #1. This constitutional amendment would make it significantly harder to amend the Ohio constitution, make referendum initiatives more difficult, and be the foundation for attacks on the right to collective bargaining, higher education, and other critical issues.
Join fellow AAUP-UC Chapter members in a united effort to protect majority rule. We invite you to attend a postcard-writing event where we’ll write to union members urging them to vote No on Issue 1. The event will be on Monday, July 10th from 4-8 p.m. at 2368 Victory Parkway. This is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and stand up for our collective interests. Enjoy a light and social gathering with pizza, beer, and wine provided. Let’s come together, engage in important discussions, and support each other in safeguarding our state’s future.
Contact Wahinya Njau (AAUP-UC member) at email@example.com or at 614/929-1630 for more information.
OXFORD, Ohio—More than 800 faculty members at Miami University officially have a union today after the State Employment Labor Relations Board certified that an overwhelming majority of faculty cast ballots in favor of forming a new chapter of the American Association of University Professors/American Federation of Teachers. The new union includes tenured and tenure-track faculty members and longer-term contract faculty including teaching professors, clinical faculty and lecturers. Voting took place via mail ballot election from April 18 through May 2. The result was 450 to 241.
The Faculty Alliance of Miami has spent more than a year organizing for the union election, motivated by shared governance issues, workloads, and the arbitrary and unfair dismissal of a large number of faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter filed with SERB to include these faculty members in the unit, but the board determined they would be a separate bargaining unit. The need for a stronger tenure system and more equitable compensation were additional factors that pushed Miami faculty to form a union.
English professor Cathy Wagner, a lead faculty organizer for FAM, said: “We are thrilled. This win means faculty’s voices will be heard. The teacher-scholar mission that made Miami a great school has been under threat from an administration that does not understand that teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. Now, we have the collective power and legal right to win changes for ourselves and our students.”
Paul Schaeffer, biology professor and organizer for FAM, said: “This victory is the outcome of years of hard work. As an organizer, I felt that the outcome was never in doubt after talking to so many of our colleagues and acting on their clear mandate. This victory will give us the pathway to use our collective voice to bring this mandate to fruition, and to ensure that the faculty are heard as we work to improve faculty working conditions and student learning conditions through collective bargaining. We look forward to beginning the bargaining process with the administration.”
Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors, said: “This incredible win at Miami University is an inspiration to the growing academic labor movement. Fed up with an administration that treated the faculty like cogs in a machine, our colleagues at Miami University demanded and won the right to have a powerful collective voice on the job to fight for academic freedom, shared governance and a more just university for all. We are thrilled with today’s result, which will promote and strengthen the core academic mission at Miami University.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said: “Today, faculty at Miami University voted for a union because they want to teach and be respected for the work they do. They understand the basic maxim that together we can accomplish far more than we ever can alone. Faced with an administration that treated them as expendable widgets—rather than the knowledge creators, researchers and teachers they are—they joined together to demand a seat at the table and a real voice in their work lives. Now, faculty look ahead to bargaining a first contract with stronger tenure, pay and academic freedom that will improve Miami and the students that it serves. I could not be prouder, and we are honored to represent them.”
Faculty Alliance of Miami organizers say they want to use collective bargaining to promote more stable employment and strengthen the university’s educational mission.
The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.
Unionized and nonunionized chapters of the AAUP champion academic freedom, advance shared governance, and promote economic security for all who teach and conduct research in higher education. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by defending standards that support quality education and ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good
As you may have read or heard, an anti-faculty, anti-higher education bill, Senate Bill 83 (SB 83), has been introduced in the Ohio Senate. The bill contains a lengthy and bizarre list of mandates and prohibitions, including:
- Banning diversity, equity, and inclusion training for any faculty, staff, or students
- Requiring each public institution of higher education to adopt a policy that affirms it will ensure intellectual diversity and guarantee that faculty and staff will encourage students to form their own conclusions about “controversial matters” and will not inculcate any social, religious, or political viewpoint. “Controversial” is defined as “any belief or policy that is the subject of political controversy, including issues such as climate change, electoral politics, foreign policy, diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, immigration policy, marriage, or abortion.”
- Prohibiting all partnerships with Chinese universities and all study abroad programs in China
- Requiring that all students take a 3-credit American history or government course that includes a specified list of documents as assigned readings
- Requiring that all course syllabi include instructor’s name and biographical information, description of course requirements and major assignments/exams, required and recommended reading, and description of each lecture or discussion.
- Requiring state institutions to make public the syllabus for each undergraduate course, accessible through the main page of the institution’s website by use of no more than three links
- Requiring the Chancellor to develop a set of standard questions for state institutions to use in student evaluation of faculty. The evaluation must include this question: “Does the faculty member create a classroom atmosphere free of political, racial, gender, and religious bias?”
- Requiring institutions to publish on their websites the “average annual numerical score” from the student evaluations for each faculty member beginning August 1, 2024, and the same date annually
- Mandating an annual review process at all public institutions in Ohio that must use the categories “exceeds performance expectations,” “meets performance expectations,” or “does not meet performance expectations.” Student evaluations must account for at least 50% of the teaching evaluation component
- Requiring institutions to conduct post-tenure review if a tenured faculty member receives a “does not meet performance expectations” evaluation for a minimum of two of the past three consecutive years
- Requiring institutions to update their policies to express all faculty workload elements in terms of credit hours with a full-time 12-month workload minimum equal to 30 credit hours; faculty not on 12-month appointments will have workload prorated based on 30 credit hour formula
- Eliminating the fundamental right of faculty and staff at higher education institutions to strike
The bill is an attack on higher education. While the provisions are ridiculous, SB83 is also something that we, as UC Faculty, must take seriously given what has occurred in Florida and other states.
AAUP-UC will be working with the Ohio Conference, other colleges, and allies throughout the state to defeat SB83. Faculty are encouraged to use this Action Page to contact your State Senator. Watch for additional communications and action requests from the Chapter and Ohio Conference.
Issues such as this are why we have and need a strong AAUP-UC. Please CLICK HERE to join today.
Connie Kendall Theado
The Columbus Dispatch
While legislators say a proposed higher education bill that could prohibit faculty from striking during contract negotiations is about fairness, union members say the result would be the exact opposite.
Senate Bill 83, also known as the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act, would overhaul campus life at Ohio’s 14 public universities and 23 community colleges. Included in a long list of possible changes is a plan to bar campus employees from striking when negotiating their contracts with administration.
The bill would add faculty to the list of public employees who aren’t allowed to strike in Ohio, which includes first responders and corrections officers.
Ohio Senate Bill 83:Overhaul of Ohio colleges targets diversity mandates, China and requires U.S. history class
Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee Chair Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland, told The Dispatch last week that this facet of the bill is about being fair to students.
“Students pay for their instruction upfront at the beginning of a semester,” Cirino said. “That’s a contract between the student and the state, and nothing should stand in the way of those students getting the instruction they paid for.”
But faculty at those unions say the bill would only further the chasm between employees and administrators, creating inequity and a power imbalance on campus.
“The right to strike is paramount,” said Tom Shanahan, a legal studies professor at Columbus State Community College and immediate past president of the Columbus State Educators Association.
Shanahan, who led Columbus State’s faculty union for six years, said taking away a union’s right to strike removes one of the biggest tools it has during the bargaining process.
“Taking away strikes takes away any leverage faculty have and gives all the leverage to the administration,” Shanahan said.
“If there is no right to strike, it incentivizes administrators to dig in their heels,” he said. “What incentive do they have to negotiate in good faith?”
David Jackson, president of Bowling Green State University’s faculty union and a political science professor, said SB 83 is a “comprehensive radical restructuring of higher education in one bill.” But, he said, it’s also far reaching for the wrong reasons.
“It’s a classic solution in search of a problem,” Jackson said.
Strikes involving campus faculty have been on the rise nationwide, with work stoppages hitting a 20-year peak in 2022, according to Bloomberg Law. In Ohio, though, faculty strikes are more rare.
Faculty at Wright State University, near Dayton, went on strike for about three weeks in January 2019 over health care and pay disputes. And Youngstown State University workers went on strike in 2020 over pay disputes.
At Bowling Green, Jackson said the union’s past two contract negotiations went well, using interest-based bargaining. While striking is not an oft-used tool among Ohio faculty unions, it’s still a vital one to have when mediation fails, he said.
“The autonomy we’ve been given thus far has been working. We should be allowed to work without being micromanaged by the state,” Jackson said.
Steve Mockabee, an associate professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati and communications and political engagement chair of UC’s American Association of University Professors chapter, said the university’s faculty union is “vehemently opposed” to SB 83’s prohibition of striking.
“The right to strike is critical to the balancing of economic power between workers and employers — especially those as large as many of Ohio’s public universities, which are often the largest employers in their base cities,” Mockabee said. “Without the leverage that the possibility of a strike provides, collective bargaining is reduced to collective begging.”
Mockabee said the proposal eliminates “a fundamental right of workers, and there is no reason to think they will stop with college employees.” He expects that SB 83 will be opposed by union organizers across Ohio.
Even public schools without faculty unions are talking about the proposed ban.
Pranav Jani, an associate professor of English at Ohio State University and president of it’s American Association of University Professors chapter, said SB 83’s strike ban hasn’t deterred faculty from an interest in organizing. Rather, it’s sparked more conversation.
“If anything, it’s gotten more people asking, ‘Why the issue of strike? What about faculty power are they so afraid of?'” Jani said. “They’re showing their cards.”
Sheridan Hendrix is a higher education reporter for The Columbus Dispatch. Sign up for her Mobile Newsroom newsletter here and Extra Credit, her education newsletter, here.