UA Chapter of AAUP to fight for its rights

The Ohio Conference of AAUP Chapters has joined a coalition of public employee unions to oppose Senate Bill 5.

After two days of testimony last week, the Ohio Senate’s Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee will meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 22 for a fourth hearing on the bill.  The coalition in opposition to this legislation, including the OCAAUP, has organized a rally at the Statehouse for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22.


The Ohio Conference of AAUP Chapters has joined a coalition of public employee unions to oppose Senate Bill 5.

After two days of testimony last week, the Ohio Senate’s Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee will meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 22 for a fourth hearing on the bill.  The coalition in opposition to this legislation, including the OCAAUP, has organized a rally at the Statehouse for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Ohio State Senate Bill 5, if passed, would make illegal collective bargaining among state employees, which includes all public school teachers and state university faculty members. The bill, which is primarily supported by the Republican Party, has gained a metaphorical stamp of approval from John Kasich, recently elected Ohio governor.

Representatives from other states are pushing for similar bills as well.  Republican Gov. Scott Walker (WI) is proposing legislature that would reduce the pension plans and health care benefits of Wisconsin teachers.  He also seeks to restrict their collective bargaining rights.  Public schools in Madison and a dozen other districts in Wisconsin closed as teachers joined the protest.

What Bill 5 is trying to do is to blame the middle class for current state of the economy, when there are other factors, said Dr. Walter Hixon, professor of history and media contact for Akron-AAUP.  Collective bargaining is not a broken system.  It was just used successfully when The University of Akron faculty negotiated new contracts earlier this year.

Thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters and other unionized workers have stormed the Wisconsin Capitol, protesting Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Senate proposal.  Initially it seemed that the proposal would pass, but then some Democrats went into hiding, leaving the body one vote shy of a quorum.  As of this writing, police are still seeking the missing lawmakers.

Like many Republican governors, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Rick Scott of Florida and Chris Christie of New Jersey, Kasich wants to deplete the power of public employee unions, especially the teachers’ union, since public education is continually the single biggest expenditure for every state.

Akron students have a reason to worry even if they aren’t directly involved, said Hixon.  If this bill passes, Ohio may struggle to attract quality professors to the state.  The student’s quality of education may diminish.

While the rally begins at 1 p.m., Akron-AAUP chapter members are invited to meet at the new OCAAUP office by 12 p.m. on Tuesday.  The office is located at 137 East State St., Columbus, 43215 – only a half block from Capitol Square where the action will be.  For more information, please contact Dave Witt or Steve Aby via email at dave.witt@akronaaup.org or steve.aby@akronaaup.org, or visit the Akron-AAUP website at http://www.akronaaup.org.v