The SSC Executive Council recently distributed a memo to full time faculty in response to Stark AAUP’s previous meeting invitation flyer to colleagues. It is disappointing that the College has chosen to share this memo which reflects, at best, a poor understanding of how collective bargaining and unions operate, and at worst, misleading information. We intend to address these points in further detail and take any questions faculty may have at our open meeting on October 18th from 1:00 to 2:30 in E215. We encourage all faculty to attend for an honest discussion about unions and the unionization process.
However, there are also some important broad points deserving of more immediate clarification:
On the OACC compensation chart provided in the memo, the average amounts shown for each listed institution include all faculty, including those who are not members of the bargaining unit covered by their union contract. OACC survey data are not collected or intended to illustrate union vs. non-union salaries, and it is disingenuous to imply this provides a valid comparison or that it negates demonstrated national data trends. Additionally, it is unclear why the SSC averages shown in the chart are larger than those reported to IPEDS for the same listed 2018 period.
Collective bargaining laws simply require both the union and the administration to negotiate in good faith as equals. This does not dictate the parameters of a contract or guarantee any particular outcome, nor does it limit the rights of administration to manage the workforce, finances, or day to day operations. To explore various collectively-bargained contract agreements and what they do/don’t contain, see Ohio SERB’s current archive of collective bargaining contracts: https://serb.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/serb/documents-and-decisions/collective-bargaining-agreements/collective-bargaining-agreements
Signing a union authorization card indicates support for a union as a bargaining representative and provides for a subsequent election. It does not and cannot dictate any individual’s vote in the election for or against forming a union nor can a signed card commit an employee to being a union member or limit their right to revoke a signed authorization card.
Union leaders, stewards, and other representatives are decided upon by consensus of the faculty union members. Such representatives are not automatically dictated or appointed, they are democratically elected according to the procedures laid out in the bylaws which faculty members create.
A union strike or any other type of collective action that may occur is always determined by the consensus of its members. Strikes are rare and unions don’t go on strike when collective bargaining is happening in good faith—to suggest otherwise is disingenuous. However, when/if a lawful strike over unfair labor practices is authorized, employers cannot fire union members for striking.
Have more questions? Want to find out more? Come join us on the 18th!