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Faculty Alliance of Miami Fights for Inclusive Bargaining Unit

By David Kociemba

In December, the Faculty Alliance of Miami (FAM) argued before an administrative judge for the Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB) for the right of hundreds of Miami University faculty members and librarians to vote in their union election. FAM’s proposed bargaining unit would include all full-time faculty members and librarians at Miami University, while the Miami administration seeks to exclude everyone except tenured and tenure-track faculty. 

Prompted by long-standing concerns over working conditions, shared governance, and compensation, the union filed a petition for certification at the Ohio SERB in June 2022 after two years of organizing. A supermajority of faculty members signed union authorization cards in support of FAM. 

The proposed Miami University union would be the largest higher education bargaining unit to file in Ohio since Bowling Green State University did so in 2010. The judge will make a recommendation to the SERB, which will make the final decision early in 2023.

If the university prevails, almost half of the union (all full-time non-tenure-track faculty members, along with teaching and research staff and librarians) will be barred from voting. Many faculty unions in Ohio include librarians, and nearly all include both tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members. “All the faculty in our union are part of fulfilling the university’s core mission, teaching and research,” says FAM press officer Todd Edwards, professor of teacher education on the Oxford campus. “We all deserve the chance to vote on whether we want a bargaining unit at Miami.”

Almost 1,500 students, alumni, faculty members, and community supporters have signed a petition advocating for the university to accept a more inclusive bargaining unit for FAM. Letters in support of the union have been sent to the Miami administration by Ohio House minority leader Allison Russo, the Ohio state AAUP conference, AAUP faculty unions in the state, the leadership of the Ohio AFL-CIO, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, and many others.

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