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Miami faculty and administration in fight over union lines

Miami University

Some members of Miami University's faculty are working to form a union. But who will be part of it is still in question.

Organizers with the Faculty Alliance of Miami (FAM) want to include all of the university's full-time faculty in elections that will decide the fate and agenda of the union. "Some things that we really hope to affect is the level of precarity at Miami," says union organizer and faculty member Cathy Wagner. "We also hope to work on workload. Workloads are really high, and they're really unequitable across the university."

But the school's administration has contested that with Ohio's State Employment Relations Board. University officials say faculty don't all have the same responsibilities and interests, and that only tenure track faculty should be included.

"We believe that their experiences, and the terms and conditions of their employment, across all these various groups that FAM has put forward, varies significantly," says Miami University Interim Vice President of Communications and Marketing Jessica Rivinius.

Wagner contends unions at many other universities across the state include all full-time faculty. She says the union wants better conditions for all faculty members — including the roughly 40% who aren't tenure track.

"If Miami wins, and we do end up with tenure track-only unit, it would be unfair and it would also just break precedent," she says.

Ten out of the 14 public universities in Ohio have collective bargaining units representing faculty.

The state employee relations board will consider the question and rule in the coming weeks.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.