Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Faculty Senate Encourages Unionization

by Dante Brunetto

The Ohio University Faculty Senate is encouraging the faculty to consider unionization. Following a long and heated discussion at Monday night’s meeting, the Faculty Senate passed the unionization support resolution 23 to 18. Faculty salaries and benefits were at the front of the discussion with an underlying concern that large salary increases for university administrators were tied to inadequate faculty funding. Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl addressed the senate urging its members to vote against the resolution.

The resolution is a recommendation by the Faculty Senate to encourage faculty members to consider unionizing. The resolution was proposed as a result of the Senate’s frustration with the university’s administration. Senate member Joseph Bernt says the administration has ignored several resolutions and recommendations made by the faculty senate. He says they are also worried about salary increases for administrators such as the $85,336 raise granted to President Roderick McDavis by the Board of Trustees. Bernt believes this is symbolic of the university's tendency to pay too much for administration and not focus enough on hiring tenure-track faculty with appropriate salary increases. Professor Dawn Deeter says that the Senate is rushing into unionization and needs to consider all of the evidence before making any decisions. She referred to an experience she had at Monmouth College where a unionized faculty created a hostile working environment dividing the university faculty and administration.

Professor Dawn Deeter says Faculty Senate is rushing
into unionization

Source: Professor Joe Bernt, Faculty Senate
-A union would allow faculty to have a contact carrying legal force that builds standard salary increases over a period of time.
-Shared governance with adequate representation of the faculty in the university’s decision making.
-Faculty Senate is worried that the switch to semesters will stretch the faculty workload. The unionization would allow them to set rules and control the workload.
-Demoralization of faculty from decisions made in recent years will decline because of fixed rules strengthening the faculty voice.
-More tenure line faculty

OU Faculty Senator Joseph Bernt talks about why he
supports unionization

Source: Professor Dawn Deter, OU Faculty
-The Faculty Senate has rushed into the unionization process without considering all of the data.
-The call for unionization is out of anger for the McDavis salary increase. Union would not address issues dealing with salary increases for administrators. Would only address faculty salaries and benefits.
-Create an “us versus them” atmosphere between the faculty and the administration.
-Discourage faculty members to voice opinions that differ from that of the union.
-Lack of incentive. Performance is not rewarded and raises tend to be across the board. This could be discouraging for high performers who seek the reward of a higher salary.
-The effect of unionizations on salaries is negligible.

Professor Dawn Deeter talks about her experience at
Monmouth College

To view the resolution and the minutes from the Faculty Senate meeting, go to www.ohio.edu/facultysenate.

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