I love my job.
I like my employer.
I need my union.
You've probably seen or heard the news: big demonstrations in Wisconsin and here in Ohio as Republican governors try to eliminate unions for public service workers.
That would be me, teaching at a community college, along teachers at all other grade levels and schools, and police and firefighters.
The Republicans say getting rid of collective bargaining is necessary to balance the budget, but that's only part of their motivation—probably not the biggest part. In Wisconsin the workers have said already agreed to pay cuts, but the governor still isn't satisfied.
But enough about Wisconsin. I'm concerned because there's trouble right here in River City...I mean Tri-C. Recently the fulltime faculty overwhelmingly voted "no confidence" in the leadership of our college president. That's significant. It's not easy to get 87% of the faculty to agree on anything.
From our viewpoint—that is from the front lines, doing the actual work of the college, teaching students day in and day out—the administration has its priorities screwed up. More buildings, more administrators, yet no additional fulltime faculty despite huge enrollment increases in recent years.
It's critical that faculty have a uniified voice to deal with the pronouncements of the admininstrators sitting in offices downtown, far from the classroom and the students. But our governor doesn't agree. He'd rather elimate our ability to challenge things like the recently-signed (and then rescinded) contract with a private firm to offer a Tri-C accounting degree online.
The college would get the money, the faculty would do the work. Shouldn't faculty input be sought and considered before signing a ten-year contract like this? Businesses like to talk about stakeholders. Faculty are critical stakeholders in anything that affects the education of our students. Which is everything the college does, isn't it?
However, without our union challenging this contract we'd have simply been told about our new job desciption after the fact. And it's not just this. There are many, many examples of administrative policies that are announced without any faculty input. The only check and balance available to us is collective bargaining. Without the union we have no voice.