The Akron chapter of the AAUP has been an advocate for faculty on the campus of The University of Akron for many years.
In response to a growing perception that they had lost any meaningful rights to participate in the governance of their university, to being among the lowest paid faculty in the State of Ohio, and continuing threats to tenure and academic freedom, faculty voted March 12, 2003 overwhelmingly in favor of making the chapter their sole collective bargaining representative (See “Why I paid my union dues…” for one faculty member’s perspective).
In August of 2003 the university administration rescinded many University Rules and effectively silenced the faculty, removing from them any meaningful participatory role in governance. University rules had stated, for example, “the faculty member has a definite voice in establishing university rules, regulations, and procedures, and is obligated to use that voice whenever asked to do so or whenever the faculty member sees fit to do so.” This provison was eliminated without public discussion or faculty involvement. This was not a singular instance. (For a brief discussion of events, as well as both faculty and administration interpretations of UA Board actions, please see “Union In, Governance Out” in the October 10, 2003 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.)
In December of 2005 a near-unanimous vote by 93% of eligible faculty approved our first collective bargaining agreement.
A Fair Share (“agency fee”) referendum was approved in March 2006 with a 70% vote in favor, one of the largest margins of approval in the history of academic labor. The only possible interpretation of the stunning affirmative vote is this: some of our colleagues said “I may not join the union, but I WILL pay my fair share.” This is one of the many reasons Akron-AAUP is proud to be the bargaining representative for the faculty at The University of Akron.
Akron-AAUP is presently preparing for negotiation of our fourth collective bargaining agreement.