Some Miami University faculty criticize pro-unionization efforts

OXFORD — As some Miami University faculty members continue their efforts to form an employees’ union, some instructors at the school are complaining they were given misinformation as they were enlisted into the process.

Earlier this week officials at Miami rejected a proposal by a teachers’ group suggesting the school’s quick recognition of a collective bargaining unit of professors and other instructors would be helpful to both sides and the future of the school.

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But while Miami officials rejected that idea, some instructors at the university have complained about the how the Faculty Alliance of Miami has gone about eliciting their participation in the unionizing effort.

One faculty member this week released a statement publicly criticizing FAM’s campaign, claiming the group had misrepresented “authorization cards from a majority of the faculty here at Miami,” wrote Yao Jin, associate professor of supply chain management for the Farmer School of Business.

He said FAM has applied to the Ohio State Employment Relations Board “for recognition of their bargaining unit on the basis that they have collected authorization cards from a majority of the faculty here at Miami. However, these are the fruits of a poisonous tree, as the organizing committee member deceived many faculty members throughout their card campaign.”

“They claimed that signing the authorization card is ‘not a union vote,’ and that if a majority of faculty signed the card, it would ‘start the process leading to a union election,’ which would give the faculty the opportunity to vote yes or no for a union.”

“More egregiously, they also insinuated that signed cards would ‘ensure that you receive an official ballot for the election.’”

“In short, they have lied and cheated their way to get countless faculty to sign cards under the understanding that signing a card does not endorse unionization but instead ensures faculty receive an official ballot, both of which are absolutely untrue,” said Jin.

“Their unionization campaign is rife with such unethical behavior that will rob the voices of those faculty who do not agree to unionizing,” said the Miami associate professor.

But Todd Edwards, spokesman for FAM, said “to me, comments like this illustrate how misinformed some of our colleagues are.”

“It also points out the importance of FAM addressing distortions (and) misunderstandings regarding the unionization process,” said Edwards.

He added “that FAM is currently drafting a letter that addresses some of the misinformation that has been circulating around campus. The plan is to send the letter out in the next day or so.”

FAM officials have previously contented a faculty union is essential to Miami’s future.

“This is a significant moment for faculty at Miami and for collective bargaining in Ohio. The Miami University union drive builds on a national wave of higher education organizing in recent years,” said the pro-union faculty leaders.

“Miami would join the 10 out of 14 other four-year Ohio public universities with collective bargaining agreements and would be the largest bargaining unit to file since Bowling Green State University in 2010.”

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