I. THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING CAMPAIGN
For the first time in its history, the Council of the American Association of University Professors in October, 1972, adopted a resolution supporting collective bargaining “as a major additional way of realizing its goals in higher education” and “promising assistance…to interested local chapters.” “To the extent,” the resolution stated, “that the Association is influential in the shaping of collective bargaining, the principles of academic freedom and tenure and the primary responsibility of a faculty for determining academic policy will be secured.”
The AAUP Chapter at the University of Cincinnati had been in existence since the Second World War; by the 1970’s it had grown to close to 400 members making it the tenth largest in the country. It ordinarily dealt with traditional faculty concerns: academic freedom and tenure, university governance, educational innovation. But by the seventies, double digit-inflation had eroded real income for faculty by approximately one-third. Moreover, according to the 1975 AAUP Bulletin, the median salary of University of Cincinnati faculty was the lowest among the ten category I institutions in Ohio. Faculty members paid for the Blue-Cross, Blue Shield medical insurance; there was no drug rider and no dental benefits; and the prospects for improvement in salary and fringe benefits were dim. In the academic years 1971-1972 and 1972-1973, the average salary increases had been 3.2 percent.
By the time the national AAUP acted to espouse collective bargaining as an appropriate means to secure its objectives in higher education, the Cincinnati Chapter, under the leadership of President Daniel Hershey of the Department of Chemical Engineering had already formed Committee N to study collective bargaining and to report its findings. On March 27, 1972, the Committee, chaired by Professor George Engberg of the History Department, well-respected by his colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences, adopted a statement proposing that AAUP members and the faculty at large “give serious consideration to the nature, structure and problems involved in the use of collective bargaining at this University.” To this end the Committee in November, 1972, invited Professor Allen Ruben of Cleveland State University and General Counsel of the Ohio Conference, AAUP, to discuss collective bargaining in general and at Ashland College in particular where he had recently negotiated a contract between its AAUP chapter and the Ashland administration. “At the regular AAUP chapter meeting,” Engberg wrote to Ruben on November 20, 1972, “the day after your appearance, there was an extended discussion of collective bargaining and a straw vote of those present. The vote was about 33 in favor of going ahead with collective bargaining, with no negative votes, and about 6 abstentions. We realize that this is not a representative measure of either the chapter or the faculty but it is certainly one indication of local feeling.”
Encouraged by the reception of Professor Ruben’s presentation and by a January, 1973 survey by a graduate student in labor economics which yielded 110 favorable replies, 95 opposed and 57 either undecided or “insufficiently informed,” Committee N recommended that the Chapter seek to establish a collective bargaining unit at the University of Cincinnati. In May, 1973, a Committee to Organize for Collective Bargaining was formed with seventeen members representing 9 of the 16 colleges and chaired by Professor Lowell Leake of the Arts and Sciences Mathematics Department. The Committee’s minutes of May 9, 1973, indicate that cards designating the AAUP Chapter as the exclusive bargaining agent for the University faculty were about to be circulated, and a letter promulgated by the committee refers to a special AAUP meeting on May 23, at which past Chapter presidents and current officers signed cards to initiate the designation campaign.
By January, 1974, of the 1092 non-Medical Center full-time faculty, 585 had signed authorization cards, and there were 117 Medical Center faculty who favored collective bargaining. These figures represented 56% of the University faculty exclusive of the College of Medicine and almost 47% of the total faculty.
Despite the advice of the national AAUP that it should have at least 65 percent of the faculty signed up before requesting that an election be held, the Chapter called a special meeting on January 17, 1974, and voted to ask the University Board of Directors to authorize a collective bargaining election. In 1974 there was no public employees bargaining statute in Ohio, and the Board of Trustees could have refused to accede to the request of the AAUP Chapter. Nevertheless, on March 5, 1974, the Board of Trustees agreed to hold an election to determine faculty sentiment in regard to AAUP representation in collective bargaining.
The next step was to decide which faculty members would participate in the election; if the AAUP prevailed, they would then become members of the bargaining unit. Because there was no law and no state board to make this crucial decision, it was left to the University Board of Trustees and the AAUP Chapter to come to some agreement as to who would be qualified to vote. The AAUP wanted a bargaining unit that would include all full-time faculty members and the University librarians and exclude those faculty who belonged to the Colleges of Law and of Medicine. The University Administration recommended that all full-time faculty members including those in the Colleges of Medicine and Law be permitted to participate in the election. Librarians would be excluded on the ground that they were not faculty.
It was obvious that the AAUP, although it argued that there was no community of interest between College of Medicine faculty and its colleagues in other colleges, was concerned that if the medical faculty voted, collective bargaining would go down in defeat. Although the University Administration contended that all faculty should be treated alike, it was similarly obvious that it believed that if the medical faculty participated in the election, the AAUP would lose. In May, 1974, the AAUP offered to “submit the issue to an outside and impartial board of mediators,” and asked rhetorically “will the University Administration and the University Board of Directors make the same commitment?”
The response was in the negative. The University Administration said in effect it was all or none, and the AAUP had no choice but to capitulate. The final determination of those eligible to vote included all faculty members in all Colleges and those in the Graduate Department of Community Planning, the Observatory and the Division of Professional Development. Those faculty who held adjunct or part-time titles, and who devoted more than half time to instruction, and department heads were also included. Administrators at the level of Assistant Dean and above were excluded.
And finally only those full time members in the College of Medicine who received their salary through the University were going to be permitted to participate in the election. There was a further delay because the Faculty Senate, which supported the Administration’s decision relative to the proposed bargaining unit, initially resolved to be on the ballot as one of the choices to bargaining collectively for the faculty. (Later the Senate reconsidered and withdrew its name.) The election was, therefore, postponed until the fall of 1974.
The election campaign that followed pitted the AAUP against the “Concerned Faculty.” The AAUP produced a brochure that conceded that “collective bargaining will not work any miracles,” but promised to establish a bargaining council to insure that “all bargaining positions and policies will be locally determined and controlled through democratic processes.” The AAUP, the brochure stated, “both nationally and at the University of Cincinnati, has a proven record of commitment to academic freedom and the role of faculty in university governance…. Based on this experience, [it] is best able to further the economic interests of the faculty while continuing to safeguard the integrity of teaching and research.” On the other hand, the “Concerned Faculty” opposed collective bargaining on the grounds that it would lead to “rigid salary schedules” which in turn would “lead eventually to a dilution of the quality of the faculty.” Collective bargaining may involve “increased teaching loads, centrally specified office hours and advising schedules, tighter constraints on consulting, strictly quantitative evaluation measures for research….” Strikes may occur which would “deprive students of our services and confront…faculty member with a difficult decision to crossing picket lines.”
The statement issued by the steering committee of the “Concerned Faculty” was signed by 22 faculty members; on November 5, 1974, two days before the election, the AAUP published an advertisement in the student newspaper, the News Record, signed by 241 faculty members, urging colleagues to vote “Yes.” At the head of the list was the name of George Engberg.
On November 7 and 8, 1974, 87 percent of the University faculty eligible to vote went to the polls. AAUP election observers were instructed to “enter upon this task with a fair and open mind.” Do not “argue regarding the election.” “Conduct yourself so that no one can find fault with your actions.” And “BE ON TIME.”
In turn the University Administration issued a series of “Information Bulletins,” the last of which stated dramatically that “no question of greater importance has come before the faculty in many years…the results of the election – whichever way its goes – will bind all persons in the unit and not only those who vote.”
The counting of the ballots took place on the afternoon of November 12, 1974. According to a later survey by two members of the Economics Department, “to the surprise of many…including some of the AAUP leaders,” the faculty voted 676 to 583 to give the Chapter the right to represent it in collective bargaining. A month later, the University Board of Directors adopted a resolution recognizing “the University of Cincinnati Chapter, American Association of University Professors…as the exclusive bargaining agent for all members of the faculty who were or would have been eligible to vote on November 7 and 8, 1974.”
The Department of Economics survey of 211 faculty revealed that 51.5 percent of the Medical faculty voted in favor of bargaining, that the strongest support came from the two-year colleges and the College of Education and the least supportive colleges were Engineering, Business and the Conservatory of Music. Faculty members indicated that they voted in favor of the AAUP because they harbored anti-administration sentiments, because of low salaries and disparities between administrative and teaching salary levels, because of dissatisfaction with programs of community involvement and because of administrative emphases on intercollegiate athletics. In contrast, those who voted against AAUP representation did so because they were either opposed to collective bargaining per se or to collective bargaining in higher education, because they believed that unionization was incompatible with “professionalism” and because they felt bargaining would lead to a “deterioration of faculty-administrative relations.”
II. THE FIRST NEGOTIATIONS
Three months after the bargaining election, the first AAUP Bargaining Council met on February 6, 1975. According to one contemporary observer, the Chapter had chosen an “ingenious” scheme: the Council would be selected from the colleges on the basis of their AAUP membership. In all there would be 26 elected members and the eight chapter officers. As a result AAUP membership soared almost immediately from 399 to 537.
The Bargaining Council, divided into committees, devoted countless hours during February and March, 1975, meeting weekdays and on Saturday mornings, drafting contract proposals, and coordinating its efforts with the Chapter Board of Directors and the Negotiating Team. The first Chairperson of the Bargaining Council was George Engberg; the first Bargaining Team was composed of Professors William Joiner as Chief Negotiator, Herbert Shapiro, Jane Leake, Saul Bloomfield, Martin Tucker and David Hartleb; in all, they came from five of the University’s colleges. Labor lawyer Jerry Venn, later replaced by James Paradise, was retained by the Chapter to participate in the negotiations, and in the AAUP office as staff were Nancy Keely and a part-time work study assistant. Faculty members were asked to contribute $25 to defray bargaining expenses, and expenditures were running between $1500 to $2000 a month.
The first negotiating session began on March 27, 1975; the AAUP team faced a University committee led by attorney Benjamin Gettler. Progress was painfully slow. In October, 1974, before the bargaining election, the University President, Warren Bennis, announced that he would seek state aid for a salary increase equal to the cost of living which in Cincinnati was approximately 12 percent. The AAUP’s first salary proposal was for an average twenty per cent increase plus two percent for merit and minimum salaries of $10,000, $12,000, $15,000 and $19,000 for the four professorial ranks. In addition the University would pay for an expanded medical insurance plan and establish a fund of at least $300,000 to be “used for removing sex and race inequities in faculty salaries and ranks.”
In May, 1975, Mr. Gettler announced that “breaks” in the negotiations “were a distinct possibility because key administration personnel would be absent during portions of the summer.” The next month, with bargaining in recess, Gettler, in a letter addressed to Professor Joiner and copied to the University faculty, objected to the AAUP “attack” on the members of the University Bargaining Team. “It is,” he wrote, “the usual pattern for such first agreements to take from one to two years to conclude.”
On July 2, 1975, Professor Joiner responded to the Gettler letter. “You begin,” he stated, “by informing me of the membership of the Administration Bargaining Committee. I can assure you that although it has been some time since you have been able to meet with us, we have not forgotten the identity of the members of your team.” Joiner accused the Cincinnati attorney of distorting the AAUP position relative to Chapter membership; “our proposal would clearly not require faculty members to join the AAUP.” “Although,” he concluded, “we would agree that improving the University’s financial base is of primary importance to the University, we could hardly accept your implication that faculty salaries and other matters we wish to deal with are of secondary importance. We are undoubtedly engaged in collective bargaining today because this has appeared to be a prevalent administrative attitude in recent years.”
Joiner wrote again on July 14 and July 24. “We feel,” he stated on the 14th, that “many of the non-economic issues must be separable from the economic issues. For example, I am sure that other members of your team can understand that academic freedom and tenure issues must be dealt with quite independently of salary increases.” On the 24th, Joiner expressed his disappointment that the Administration’s Chief Negotiator had not responded to his earlier letter. “Since,” he wrote, “we will be dealing with a number of detained and complicated non-economic issues, we can serve the best interests of all parties by using the immediate future to deal with those issues, and then address ourselves to economic matters when the state funding issue is settled.”
The negotiations resumed on September 9, 1975. Although President Bennis had committed the University to a cost of living increase, the Administration’s first offer at the table was for an average 4.5 percent raise in salaries. On September 12, there was an angry exchange between the two chief negotiators. Joiner said that the AAUP Bargaining Council had found that the contract offered by the Administration was “unsatisfactory, “that it was “sloppy in language, not responsive to AAUP proposals and unclear even to members of the Administration’s Team.” Gettler retorted that “after each session the AAUP Team tries to find something with which to insult the Administrative Team members.” He then “looked at B. Joiner,” the minutes reported, “and said that those were the acts of a person’s small mind who used insults to try to make himself bigger. Then he apologized for the characterization.”
The AAUP was trying to find some means to hasten the pace of the negotiations. In October, 1975, the Chapter President, James Hall wrote to labor consultant Wallace Weber that “we need guidance about how to speed…the negotiations. Our meetings with the other side (two or three times a week) have been occupied almost exclusively with questions about minute aspects of our proposed contract language. No actual bargaining has taken place, even though both proposed contracts have been on the table for over a month, and our proposals have been known to the other side for more than six months.” In December, Hall wrote to Bill Sheehan of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council asking for his assistance. “When the AAUP Board,” he said, “and Negotiating Team met with you and…[Jim] Wolfe, we discussed the possibility of the Labor Council putting out a general statement of support…. We think this would be valuable…if negotiations bog down again.”
It was not until April, 1976, that the two sides finally reached agreement; the 98th and final bargaining session was on April 14, 1976. The two year contract, forty-six pages in all and signed by Jane Early for the University Board of Directors and President Warren Bennis and by James Hall and George Engberg for the AAUP, provided for a salary increase of $1500 plus an additional 4.8 percent of the faculty member’s 1974-75 academic year base salary retroactive to September 1, 1975. In 1976-1977 the increase would be 6 percent with another 1 percent for merit. The University also for the first time would pay for medical insurance, and minimum salaries were set at $10,000, $12,000, $15,000 and $19,000 for the four professorial ranks. Reappointment, promotion, tenure and grievance procedures were codified, and there was a detailed process for “faculty retrenchment under conditions of financial exigency.” But nothing was said about a $300,000 fund to deal with salary and rank inequities based on sex or race. On April 23 and 24, 1976, the AAUP Bargaining Unit voted 1056 to 44 to ratify the 1975-1977 AAUP-University Contract.
III. THE STRIKE OF 1979
When faculty members went on strike on October 25, 1979, after almost ten months of negotiations, they did not know what to expect. All they knew was what the University Administration had offered them was unacceptable. The negotiation of the third contract, since collective bargaining had been established at the University of Cincinnati, demonstrated the unity of the faculty and its determination to do everything it had to do to fight for its rights. In order to assess the reasons for the strike, it is crucial to take a brief look at the course of negotiations for the 1979-81 University of Cincinnati-AAUP Bargaining Agreement.
In January of 1979, the AAUP Negotiating Team made its initial proposal for a contract to the Administration’s Negotiating Team. The economic proposal asked for an increase in salaries of approximately 26.4 percent over the next two years. From today’s point of view this may seem like a rather high figure, but inflation was around 13 percent annually at that time and predictions put it at about 9-10% for the future. Therefore, anything in the vicinity of 26 percent would not have meant an actual pay raise, but rather keeping up with inflation. As a matter of fact, faculty at UC had lost ground, with salary increases of around 5.5 percent in 1977-78 and approximately 7 percent in 1978-79. At the same time, inflation had been well into double digits, and faculty had, therefore, lost purchasing power over the previous two years. The AAUP held that its demanded increase of 26.4 percent over two years would merely put the faculty’s income to where it should have been. This reasoning was the Chapter’s main argument in supporting its demands, stressing that it was not unreasonable – the faculty just needed to keep up with inflation. The proposal did not specify a percentage figure, but was broken down into percentage points plus fixed dollar amounts. It also included a provision to enable lower income faculty to make up some ground. The AAUP proposal also included merit pay of 3 percent annually and promotional increases of 6.5 percent or $1,000, whichever was higher. Among other issues, the AAUP also proposed an improvement of fringe benefits, including dental insurance that would be paid by the University and free parking.
In the Chapter Board Minutes of February 2, 1979, there is a notation, referring to negotiations, that “in general, things seem to be going well,” but it was not until May 24, after almost five months of negotiations, that the Administration introduced its first economic proposal: approximately 1.5 percent across the board increase per year. The 1.5 percent was presented in dollar amounts. The proposal also contained merit pay and bonuses. The average increase for faculty would have been around 3.5 percent for 1979-80 and about 4.3 percent for 1980-81. This offer was immediately rejected by the AAUP, and on May 31, the Chapter censured President Winkler “for the callousness of his offer of 1.5% across the board,” after “some 250 sign-carrying faculty members rallied outside the administration building.”
During the course of negotiations, apart from the controversial economic issue, non-economic issues were also highly contested between the AAUP and the UC Administration. The Administration’s proposals were geared towards weakening the faculty’s position within the University community. One of the crucial issues was the Administration’s proposal that academic programs could be discontinued at the discretion of the University, and that affected faculty could be fired. The Administration also proposed “the periodic review of tenured faculty” which prompted outrage among senior faculty members. Another point of contention was the Chapter’s demand that grievances, if won by the grievant but overturned by the President, should go to arbitration. To prevent arbitrary decisions, the AAUP also proposed that the President and Board of Trustees be bound by RPT criteria, in cases where a faculty member was recommended for promotion on all levels below them.
In the months that followed, the AAUP accused the Administration of stalling. This assumption was further fueled by the fact that the Administration gave other University employees dental coverage and raises that were significantly higher than what they offered the AAUP. The Chapter concluded, therefore, that the Administration was not interested in the well being of faculty members. After all, they were an integral part of the University, the educators of the institution. The Administration claimed that the Chapter really did not represent the faculty, because not every faculty member was an AAUP member, and doubted the validity of AAUP’s position in bargaining. As a result of the Administration’s claim and its stalling tactics, the Chapter leadership heavily recruited faculty members to join the AAUP. It realized that the University would take its concerns more seriously if membership were higher. The result was stunning: between April and October the number of AAUP members rose by approximately 23 percent, from 535 to 656 .
By early October little progress had been made. Notable only was the Administration’s withdrawal of its proposal for the periodic review of tenured faculty. On October 2, the Chapter passed a resolution to censure the University Administration and the Board of Trustees “for their failure to conduct bargaining in ‘good faith'” and supported a vote of no confidence in President Winkler. On October 4, the Administration unilaterally called for mediation. Its most recent offer of 4 percent increases across the board for each of the two years of the contract was still on the table. The AAUP, which at that point was waiting for a response from the Administration to its latest proposal, was convinced that there was still room for negotiations and rejected the call for mediation. Despite its hope for achieving a settlement by continuing to negotiate, the AAUP called for a Strike Vote Authorization Meeting, after the Administration failed to show any positive movement. The meeting took place on October 14, and the result was overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing the Chapter to call a strike, with 631 yes-votes and 60 no-votes.
The AAUP did not want to strike because it was aware of all the problems and concerns that such a radical action might cause, but it also felt that faculty members had to demonstrate that they were serious in their refusal to accept a virtual pay cut of approximately 10 percent each year. In light of these facts, negotiations continued with a lingering hope that a settlement could be reached to avoid a strike. However, on October 21, the Administration made its final offer: increases of 6 percent across-the board for each of the two years. The AAUP rejected this offer and gave an ultimatum. An acceptable settlement had to be reached by 9 p.m., October 24, or the Chapter would call a strike, beginning at 7 a.m. on the 25th. The AAUP agreed to bargain around the clock to avoid a strike.
On the morning of October 25, many faculty members were worried about how many of their peers would go out on strike. If only a handful had walked the picket lines, the strike would have been a disaster. The AAUP Chapter had asked its attorney, James Paradise, about possible legal consequences of going on strike since, under the Ferguson Act, striking was illegal in Ohio. Paradise advised the Chapter that, theoretically, faculty could be fired for striking, but he affirmed that the likelihood of repercussions was very slim. In order to invoke the Ferguson Act, the employer had to notify its employees by mail that they were engaging “in such prohibited activity.” Moreover, once the employer made this decision, it could not retract it. Paradise also stated that he was not aware of any strike with a large number of participants where the Ferguson Act had been invoked. Therefore, the only concern remaining seemed to be the willingness of the faculty to come together and show solidarity in the first strike ever at the University of Cincinnati. All the worries and fears proved unwarranted.
On the first day of the strike, only about 33 percent of classes were held. The Administration proclaimed that the University would operate as usual and its percentage figures were different from those quoted by the faculty. But even the Administration had to concede that faculty participation was high. Support for the faculty was immense too. Although the student government officially opposed the strike, which coincided with mid-term exam time, many students supported the decision of the faculty. Support came from all sides. The weekend of homecoming at the University of Cincinnati, with which the AAUP said the strike would not interfere, demonstrated that the community at large supported the cause of the faculty. Concerts at CCM were cancelled out of respect for the picket lines. Signs in support of striking faculty were carried during the homecoming parade. Letters of support were sent to the strike headquarters. Local unions showed their backing. The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, and the Cincinnati Firefighters among many others supported the efforts of the faculty. Nationwide support from other AAUP offices and unions rolled into the strike headquarters. Many telegrams and letters poured into the office, all emphasizing that they fully backed the faculty. One of the telegrams pinpointed the interest and support shown: “We are with you in spirit. Hang tough. Can we Help?” from Wells Keddie, President of the Rutgers University Chapter, AAUP. The AAUP publicly stated that the strike was not about money alone. The crucial non-economic issues also had not yet been settled. And these were just as important as the economic concerns.
As the strike continued, faculty participation increased and the sense of unity among faculty grew. It inspired one striking faculty member to write a poem, with references like the following:
Hearts and minds these hours entwined,
Kindred souls, marching together,
Fears forgotten for these hours,
Spirits brightened in these hours,
We will win.
(The whole text of this poem may be found in Appendix III)
Even the newspapers, which had favored the Administration in their reports about the negotiation process, admitted that the faculty stood firm and that participation was high. Faculty members, with sandwich boards attached to them, walking the picket lines, received help from supporters who supplied coffee and donuts. Passersby also showed their support, and many people were persuaded to refrain from crossing the picket lines. As the strikers walked the picket lines, negotiations continued. In the process, the Administration, among other things, withdrew its proposal for reduction of academic programs and agreed that RPT decisions must be based on RPT criteria. The University also “agreed to an internal grievance review panel with authority to review procedural issues and make procedural recommendations binding on the President and the Board”, in cases were grievances were rejected by the President. In turn, the AAUP withdrew its proposal for agency shop.
On the night of the 30th, a tentative agreement was reached. That night, at the Vernon Manor Hotel, the Administration stated that “the bag was empty,” indicating that it was not going to move any further on economic issues. The AAUP Chief Negotiator, Sandy Golding, then proposed .5% for merit and the Administration agreed to add it. The strike was over. The settlement came just in time to satisfy an ultimatum made by student leaders. The students put pressure on the Administration to settle with the faculty; if not, they would take the case to court in order to end the strike.
The economic settlement included a salary increase of approximately 18 percent over the two years of the contract. The AAUP was satisfied with the outcome, not only about the economic terms, but especially about the non-economic terms which would ultimately strengthen the faculty position. Faculty members did not lose any pay for the days that they were on strike, but had to agree to make up for lost time.
All in all, the strike of 1979, the first at the University of Cincinnati, was a big success. It gave the faculty a boost in morale and proved vital in solidifying the faculty’s position within the University community. However, the AAUP and the faculty did not enjoy going on strike. They just did what was necessary and they did not do it easily. Lowell Leake, the President of the AAUP at the time, was quoted in the newspaper as saying that “We’ve been under terrible pressure… We’re responsible people. We wanted to get back to the classrooms. This has been one of the most emotional experiences of my life.”
IV. YEARS OF ACHIEVEMENT
The year 1980 was a pivotal one in the Chapter’s history. In February, 1980, Nancy Keely resigned her staff position and the Chapter retained Dr. Betsy Sato, initially part-time and by the end of the year as full-time Executive Director. At the same time James Paradise retired from active practice, and in April the Chapter hired labor lawyer Donald Mooney to serve as its attorney.
In order to support staff, defray the costs of negotiations, and provide other services, the current dues level of 0.75% of a bargaining unit member’s salary was introduced in 1988, and two years later Chapter offices were moved from the Tangeman University Center to 201 Old Service Building. In 1996, the conference room was dedicated to the late Professor John Trela who had served the Chapter long and well as a representative to the University Budget and Priorities Committee. The portrait of Professor Trela looks down on the Chapter Board of Directors when it meets, and seems to be saying, “do the right thing.”
The period from 1977-1993 was one of new challenges and new innovations. Librarians at the University voted to join the Bargaining Unit in April, 1977, and in September, 1989, were granted faculty status and eligibility for tenure. A joint faculty-administration committee was formed under the 1981-1982 contract to identify “possible salary inequities involving women and minorities,” and in September, 1982, the committee recommended that increases totalling $13,300 be given to nine women and one minority male faculty member. But despite efforts by this and later committees to resolve it, problems of salary and promotion inequity based on sex, race and ethnic origin persisted.
From 1977 to 1993, there were negotiations resulting in eight AAUP-University contracts. Perhaps the most creative clauses involved a mediation process, first included in the 1986-1989 contract and a sick leave bank that made its appearance in the 1989-1992 agreement. Mediation would first be required in attempting to resolve complaints not relating to reappointment, promotion and tenure, to reduce the number of formal hearings. The sick leave bank would give faculty members access to compensated time-off up to 150 days for a single illness when they had exhausted their accumulated sick leave. At the same time, accumulated sick leave was capped at 300 days, and requests for use of the bank for more than 150 days were subject to the approval of the AAUP and the University Contract Administrator. The 1989-1992 contract was also the result of a new form of negotiations. The AAUP and University Administration teams were trained in the “win-win” type of bargaining, leading ultimately to the shortest period of negotiations with a contract signed in July, 1989.
In between contract negotiations, the Chapter was almost constantly involved in representing Bargaining Unit members in grievances and in disciplinary hearings. Throughout the decade of the 1980’s approximately 180 grievances were brought, involving denials of reappointment, promotion and tenure, allegations of unfair merit awards and academic freedom violations, and proposed disciplinary actions. Dr. Sato carried most of the burden of representing grievants, while at other times Bargaining Unit members received the assistance of voluntary counselors.
There were also two important arbitrations of contractual disputes between the Chapter and the University Administration. Both were resolved in the AAUP’s favor. In 1985, after the passage of the Ohio Public Employees Collective Bargaining Statute, the University attempted to remove department heads, supervisory librarians, and part-time faculty from the AAUP Bargaining Unit.
The University argued that since the bargaining statute barred these categories of employees from belonging to collective units, they should be excluded from the Cincinnati AAUP organization. On the other hand, the AAUP contended that department heads, supervisory librarians and certain part-time faculty were grandfathered into the Chapter’s Bargaining Unit and could not be unilaterally removed from it.
The arbitrator’s straightforward award was handed down on March 22, 1986. “The AAUP,” the award stated, “did not make a binding bargain with the University for the exclusion of department head, division head, school head, and library supervisory positions, and part-time faculty from the existing Bargaining Unit…, and these positions are grandfathered into the Unit by the current recognition language of Article 1 of the [Collective Bargaining] Agreement.”
Again in October, 1991, President Joseph Steger unilaterally cancelled all paid academic leaves for the year 1992-1993. Fifty-five leaves had already been approved by college deans, and the University’s status as a research institution was at stake. While conceding that it had made no effort to bargain with the AAUP Chapter in regard to its new and “difficult” policy, the Steger Administration argued that the cancellations were necessary to “preserve the fiscal integrity of the University.” The AAUP retorted that cancellations would not save funds for the University, but were “simply ‘political’ and symbolic.” More significant, the Chapter contended that the cancellations violated two articles of the 1989-1992 AAUP/UC Contract. In June, 1992, at the arbitration hearing, a faculty member testified that his leave had been cancelled even though he had arranged for other faculty to cover his classes at no cost to the University. Administration representatives admitted that the suspension of academic leaves was not “aimed at achieving budget savings.”
On July 18, 1992, Arbitrator James Feree ruled that, in unilaterally cancelling the 1992-1993 academic leaves, the Steger Administration had contravened contractual guarantees. He thereupon directed the University to review the 55 leave proposals “submitted to the Provost using criteria which have been applied in previous years.”
Dedicated to a unique marital and professional partnership, the James and Charlotte Paradise Scholarship Award was established in 1980 and revived in its present form seven years later. James and Charlotte Paradise served the Chapter respectively as legal counsel for five years and three collective bargaining agreements and as legal secretary. The Scholarship is given to a University of Cincinnati student with a good academic record who “exemplifies the unselfish commitment to community service, concern for others and willingness to defend human rights and civil liberties that have characterized the lives of James and Charlotte Paradise.” Two other honors given periodically by the Chapter are the long-standing Dillwyn Ratcliff award for the defense of academic freedom, and the more recent Maita Levine award for “persistent loyalty and commitment to the goals and ideals” of the AAUP and “for courageous leadership and service over many years to the UC chapter.”
V. THE STRIKE OF 1993
As in 1989, the 1992 negotiations for the University of Cincinnati/AAUP bargaining agreement were conducted utilizing the mutual gains method. However, the negotiations dragged on for months and finally ended in a rejection of the proposed contract and a strike at the end of March, 1993. During the months of negotiations, the AAUP accused the University Administration of not abiding by the mutual gains method, which “the faculty, with great reservation” had agreed to test in 1989, and “the AAUP board [had] agreed to use the process [again] in 1992.” The AAUP also claimed that the Administration had demonstrated during the previous few years that it did not care about the faculty. In the end the faculty were pushed to go on strike, as it did in 1979. This time though, things evolved differently than in 1979.
The relationship between the faculty and the University Administration had been tense and had culminated in the faculty’s vote of no-confidence in the Administration in 1991. The vote, 72% in favor of no-confidence, derived from the University’s threat to eliminate sabbatical leaves without consulting with the faculty and to not reappoint 177 junior faculty members. The Administration justified these provisions with the explanation of “budget restraints.” At roughly the same time however, new buildings, most prominently the renovation of Nippert Stadium, were authorized. The faculty had enough and its dismay resulted in a vote of no-confidence, in which over 1,000 faculty members participated. Therefore, the negotiations of 1992 took place in a tainted atmosphere. Moreover, the AAUP claimed that it had no knowledge of the real positions of the Administration. It appeared that the Administration wanted to keep the faculty in the dark about their intentions. The faculty concluded that it was not really “mutual gains” but rather a one-way gain situation, in which the Administration had all the advantage.
In the end and after mediation, the contract that was negotiated proposed an increase in salaries of 0% in the first year, 2% in the second year and 4% in the third year. More importantly, the non-academic issues were very controversial. The tentative contract provided that during disciplinary procedures, a faculty member could be suspended without pay, before a hearing had even taken place. Another provision allowed for faculty members to switch from tenure-track to non-tenure track positions, therefore posing a possible threat to tenure. There were also provisions about Management Rights, Governance and Maintenance of Practices, all aimed towards strengthening the Administration’s position and limiting the faculty’s role within the University. $2.8 million were to be granted as incentives to retirees who stayed at the University the longest. About 25 faculty members would have benefitted from this incentive and would have been discouraged from retiring at a “normal” retiring age.
In February of 1993, the 778 voting AAUP members, by mail ballot, rejected the tentative contract 379 to 239. The weeks leading up to the vote were devoted to letters and flyers, informing the membership about the content and implications of the contract. There seemed no plausible reason to endorse a contract that would infringe on faculty rights and principles. The AAUP Board of Directors hoped that refocusing on bargaining by both sides would quickly conclude the process and provide for a fair contract. President Steger seemed to share this notion and “so informed the Faculty Senate.” The Chapter organized a new Negotiating Team and was soon ready to negotiate. However, the new Chief Negotiator, Bill Joiner, also stated that “mutual gains bargaining is dead!” and that it had “weakened our position and gave the administration every advantage, and the outcome indicates they pressed it to the fullest extent.” Despite President Steger’s earlier statement, the Administration Team was not in place quickly, and negotiations stalled and did not resume until early March. The AAUP leadership frequently stated that if results were not reached quickly, it would push for a strike the first week of spring quarter. In June, 1992, the Board of Directors had been authorized by AAUP members to call a strike. On March 16, 1993, they reaffirmed their authorization in a meeting at which more than 400 faculty members were present. 97% of them voted in favor of strike authorization.
The Administration moved neither on salary nor on non-economic issues. There was a perception among faculty members that the University wanted revenge for their vote of no-confidence in 1991, and that the Administration was under the impression that the “AAUP cannot get a significant percentage of faculty to walk out and stay out.” The night before spring quarter was scheduled to begin, the AAUP Board of Directors voted to strike starting the following morning. The strike committee was well prepared. Headquarters were set up, signs were ready and so were faculty members. They went on strike for the first week of the spring quarter of the 1992-93 academic year. Similar to 1979, strike support was strong and came from all over the University community. The teamsters and other local unions supported the faculty’s efforts. Other AAUP chapters such as Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University and Central State University sent letters of support. AAUP colleagues from other campuses came to Cincinnati to support the strikers in person. Among them was a delegation from Central State University, including Ohio Conference AAUP President David Rubin. They visited the strike headquarters at Old St. George Church and encouraged picketers on the lines.
Many students signed a “Student in Support of the Faculty Petition” which stated that “we, the students of the University of Cincinnati, support the Faculty in their attempt to negotiate a fair contract, and in their strike. We support their efforts to secure reasonable salaries and health benefits, continued democratic governance of the University, and leaves which make it possible to maintain academic excellence. We call upon the Administration to bargain fairly and in good faith with the faculty.” Parents of students also publicly backed faculty members by declaring “they are teachers. They equip our students with knowledge to face the tough challenges as they prepare to move on into the world. They deserve respect.”
Although support was strong and the faculty’s morale was good, there were serious concerns which had to be dealt with. The Administration filed a request with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) to determine if the strike was unauthorized, and if the contract between the University and the AAUP had been improperly terminated. However SERB held on March 30, that “the Board finds that the strike is authorized. Specifically, the Board finds that the Union’s notice of intent to strike served also as a notice of contract termination, and that the contract was expired at the time of the strike.” The finding boosted the spirit of faculty members, but economic needs became more and more crucial, since those who were on strike were not paid by the University. The Chapter, therefore, set up an Emergency Fund for striking faculty members to which people were encouraged to contribute. The AAUP was able to supply interest-free loans to faculty members who applied for financial assistance.
Faculty participation was not as overwhelming as during the 1979 strike but it was still high. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the AAUP stated that 70% of the faculty honored the strike, whereas the University claimed that 65% of scheduled classes were held. Although these numbers differed significantly and are not as impressive as the ones from the first strike, they still illustrate that the faculty was determined to once again fight for its rights. Negotiations continued while the strike was in effect and, after one week, a settlement was reached. Economically, nothing was accomplished. Salary increases of 0% in the first year, 2% in the second year, and 4% in the third year remained. The crucial changes were among the non-economic issues. The contract provided that during grievance procedures a faculty member could not be suspended without pay prior to a hearing; there would be academic leaves and the $2.8 million, which had been designated for retirement incentives, was to be used for medical and dental benefits for retirees. Moreover, the switch from tenure to non-tenure track positions was eliminated except at the College of Medicine where such a provision had long been in effect.
There was one more victory for the faculty. The “Administration refused to negotiate anything about back pay or return to work as part of the strike settlement.” When the strike was over, the Administration sent a memorandum to those faculty members who went on strike telling them that they were expected to complete a full quarter of instruction, meaning that they should make up for lost classes even though they would be “docked 1/160” of their annual salary for each day they went out. The AAUP filed for arbitration over this issue. The University’s calculation assumed that faculty work consisted only of teaching, although it was specified in the contract that faculty members spend a substantial amount of their time on research, governance and public service. The AAUP, represented by its attorney Donald Mooney, claimed that if faculty members were required to make up for lost time of instruction during the strike, they should be entitled to full back pay, since the strike was restricted to provision of teaching, and faculty members continued to pursue their other responsibilities while the strike went on. The arbitrator held in favor of the AAUP. The University did not accept the arbitrator’s decision and threatened to go to court. After numerous talks and negotiation sessions, the AAUP and the Administration settled and agreed that striking faculty members would receive 85% of the salary which had been withheld because of the strike.
The second strike of the faculty at the University of Cincinnati was as equally successful as the first strike in 1979. It strengthened the faculty’s position and promoted solidarity among faculty members. They did not strike easily because of concerns for their mission of educating students and their own financial well being. Although faculty members risked losing wages and the University community’s support, they stood up for their rights and principles because they were pushed by the University Administration to take the least wanted measure to support their demands, a strike. In the end, the strike forced the Administration to take the faculty and its concerns seriously and to go back to the table and negotiate in good faith.
VI. THE CULMINATION
In August, 1994, Dr. Sato, after serving as Executive Director for fourteen years, resigned, and her position was filled by David Sterling, recently retired from the A&S History Department. Sterling, first in an acting position, and then as Executive Director, held office until May, 1996, when David Rubin, retired from Central State University, succeeded him as Executive Director. Other Chapter members have been and continue to be prominent in state and national AAUP offices. Maita Levine was President of the Ohio Conference in 1978-1979, First Vice-President of the National AAUP in 1986-1988, Chairperson of National’s Committee W, 1994-1997, and was honored in 1996 with the Marilyn Sternberg award, given by the National Collective Bargaining Congress to an AAUP member “who best demonstrates the concern for human rights, the courage, persistence, political foresight, imagination, collective bargaining knowledge and skills….” James Hall and David Rubin also served as President of the Ohio Conference respectively in 1984-1985 and 1992-1993. James Cebula serves on the National Council of the AAUP and its Executive Board, while John Brackett is a member of the Board and Treasurer of the Collective Bargaining Congress.
In the aftermath of the 1993 strike, the Chapter negotiated two contracts with the University Administration. With James Sullivan, College of Applied Sciences, as the Chapter’s Chief Negotiator, bargaining for the 1995-1998 agreement went relatively smoothly. Negotiation of the 1998-2001 contract was more difficult. Until the fall of 1998, after several months of meetings, the University Administration stood by its offer of a salary increase of zero, one percent, one percent for the three years of the agreement. It also proposed to abandon the sick leave bank and the health plan by which faculty members could choose their own physicians and their own hospitals. It wanted to increase co-payments for prescription drugs and to reduce the age limit for dependent children from 25 to 23.
These proposals, among others, were totally unacceptable to the AAUP Negotiating Team, the Chapter Board and the faculty in general. In September, 1998, after the expiration date of the 1995-1998 contract, AAUP’s Chief Negotiator, John Brackett, on behalf of the Chapter, declared an impasse in bargaining; a mediator was appointed, but still there was no progress. On Sunday, October 18, 1998, approximately 250 chapter members met at Old St. George Church, listened to a rousing speech by Professor Amy Elder and voted to authorize a strike. “If we are,” she said, “to combat an intransigence that does not respond to reason, that does not respond to fairness, we must use our just reasons to join hands to oppose it.”
It had always been conventional wisdom that the faculty would not strike for economic reasons. But 0, 1 percent, l percent was regarded as a gratuitous insult in a year when salary increases at public universities throughout the state were in the three to five percent range. Confronted by the serious threat of a November walk out, the University Administration agreed on October 27, to a salary increase of two percent, three and a half percent, three and a half percent with the first year increase given as a fixed dollar amount and the second and third years as a percent. All of the proposals for health insurance modifications were withdrawn.
After some further delays, there were improvements in disciplinary procedures with the burden of proof placed on the Administration. And there was a language clarification in regard to prior service and new requirements that give librarians more consultative rights when their job descriptions change.
As the University of Cincinnati Chapter of the AAUP celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of collective bargaining on the eve of the millennium, it faces unresolved issues and new and in some cases ominous developments. A generation of faculty members has taken early retirement, and the Chapter must offset the loss to its membership roll. The University Administration has periodically proposed the removal of the College of Medicine faculty from the Bargaining Unit, and the Chapter has sought to resolve the problem of salary and rank inequity for women and minorities and has asked for fringe benefits for domestic partners. Neither has thus far been successful. There are questions involving distance learning and intellectual property. And there are the more basic issues of university governance and the corporatization of higher education and the increasing reliance on and exploitation of part-time faculty.
Through periodic luncheon meetings, the annual basketball parties, the faculty follies and, although no one wanted them, the two strikes, the Chapter has developed a real sense of community, committed to academic freedom, faculty governance, and due process. Its reliance on democratic processes represents the best that a free society has to offer and reaffirms the promises it made to the University of Cincinnati faculty before the collective bargaining election in November, 1974.
It would be foolhardy to underestimate the determination and the power of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati. With the courage, initiative, inventiveness and sheer hard work that characterized the collective bargaining campaign and the first negotiations in the 1970’s and that sustained the chapter in the decades of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the University of Cincinnati faculty and the AAUP can look forward to the new century with hope and confidence.
1971/72 Daniel Hershey
1972/73 Lowell Leake
1973/74 David Sterling
1974/75 Maita Levine
1975/76 James Hall
1976/77 Herbert Shapiro
1977/78 David Hartleb
1978/80 Lowell Leake
1980/82 Verna Armstrong
1982/84 Sally Moffitt
1984/86 Robert Hornyak
1986/88 Lowell Leake
1988/90 Barbara Schare
1990/94 Norman Murdoch
1994/96 Maita Levine
1996/2000 James Cebula
1975/77 Contract William Joiner
1977/79 Contract William Aeschbacher
1979/81 Contract Sanford Golding
1981/82 Contract Marvin Garrett
1982/85 Contract Jonathan Kamholtz
1984/86 Contract James Hall
1986/89 Contract Barbara Schare
1989/92 Contract Norman Murdoch
1993/95 Contract Roger Wright/William Joiner
1995/98 Contract James Sullivan
1998/2001 Contract John Brackett
“STRIKE” by Marion Brown, 1979 (printed with the author’s permission)
7:00 a.m. Standing on the line
Cold rising through my bones,
Dark hours, murky hours,
Loneliness creeping round the corner;
A word, a smile, a wave
Warms trembling bodies –
It’s easier to be brave.
7:55 a.m. Don’t cross my line, friend,
Don’t cross our line,
Turn around for your sake
Not just for mine.
Stand firm in this fight,
Don’t waver or quaver,
Do what is right.
Don’t cross my line, friend,
Don’t cross our line,
Turn around for your sake,
You still have time.
8:45 a.m. The pulse quickens,
The heart sickens,
The enemy approaches
Encroaching on my line,
Once vowed to stand tall, not fall,
Now marching to their tune:
10:00 a.m. Let us break bread together:
Coffee steaming in plastic cups,
Donuts rolled in sugar,
Filled with jelly, with nuts,
Twists with crunchy covers,
Sweetrolls fruited full;
Festive moments sealed with sweetness.
11:00 a.m. Time’s up!
Time to leave comraderie behind,
Hearts and minds these hours entwined,
Kindred souls, marching together,
Fears forgotten for these hours,
Spirits brightened in these hours,
We will win.
Walking alone now.
Badges stashed in trunks and closets,
Identity lost for now;
Alone now. Alone now.
Spirit, sustain me until tomorrow.