BGSU faculty want to start a union

By Justin Michaels - bio | email

Posted by Kate Oatis - email

BOWLING GREEN, OHIO (WTOL) - The faculty at BGSU is looking to create a union.

Collective bargaining committee members and faculty supporters met with the media Thursday for the announcement. Indeed, more than 57 percent of the nearly 800 faculty members at BGSU have signed a card calling for an election.

Proponents of collective bargaining believe if the faculty unionized, they would be able to address issues some feel are being overlooked by school administrators.

And as with any union, collective bargaining is also a way to leverage for higher pay. BGSU faculty salaries have languished at the bottom of those of other Ohio universities, but the salaries of central administration continue to increase.

The faculty senate is in support of unionizing so they're doing what they can to spread the word about why it will benefit the faculty and university as a whole.

Jolie Sheffer has been a BGSU English professor for the last four years.

"I have seen in the time that I have been here, classrooms falling apart where the students cant sit in certain seats because they haven't been fixed," Sheffer said. "I have seen my classes get larger and that changes the quality of my teaching and the way that I teach."

But the idea of creating a union isn't sitting well with school administrators.

The BGSU administration put out a statement Thursday:

"While the administration does not support the organizing effort, it respects the faculty's right to organize... . The administration believes that this step would fundamentally alter the faculty culture of BGSU and do nothing to accomplish the strategic goals of the BGSU community.

It is the hope of faculty members that the union election will happen this semester, but depending on how the process goes, it could happen in the fall.

Another staffing issue on campus this week is the separation agreement for faculty and staff.

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