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Miami University faculty vote in favor of forming a union

Miami University

Tenured and tenure-track faculty at Miami University have voted to form a union. Votes from the two-week-long mail-in election were tallied at the State Employment Relations Board in Columbus Wednesday.

Sixty-five percent of eligible faculty voted in favor of the union with 450 votes for and 241 votes against the bargaining unit.

Once the results are certified by SERB, the Faculty Alliance of Miami can officially represent staff members and bargain with the university.

The group's chair Theresa Kulbaga says winning 65% of the vote was a strong message from the university's employees that they're ready for a change.

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"I think it shows the hard work that went into organizing and it also shows that our faculty wants to speak with a collective voice," Kulbaga said. "We want to be able to bargain a contract with the university and not be at the whims of whatever administration wants to do."

The Faculty Alliance of Miami will be the university's first union in its more than 200-year history. Miami's administration released a statement in response to the election results saying it plans to work in good faith with FAM and will be forming a team to negotiate with the union once the results have been certified.

The administration had said previously that it doesn't support unionization and believes collective bargaining would negatively impact the student experience and the school's academic reputation.

Kulbaga says she expects university leadership to honor the faculty's decision.

"We hope that through bargaining we can work on pay equity and tenure protections, and have greater shared governance and more of a voice in decision-making, especially around curriculum and workload," Kulbaga told WVXU.

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FAM plans to celebrate the victory but will continue to push for more unionization at Miami. Starting next Tuesday, the university's librarians — who were initially excluded by SERB from joining the union — will have an election of their own starting May 23. Results from that election are expected to be announced later this summer.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.