CORVALLIS, Ore.—The Oregon Employment Relations Board officially certified United Academics of Oregon State University Wednesday, capping a three-year organizing effort by hundreds of teaching and research faculty in a variety of jobs and academic disciplines.
Earlier this month, a strong majority of the nearly 2,400 OSU faculty across the state—both tenure-track and nontenure-track—declared support for unionization via a “card check” recognition process.
UAOSU is affiliated nationally with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors.
The union victory came on the same day that the United States Supreme Court decided the Janus case in a bid to weaken the labor movement.
Kathleen Stanley, a senior instructor in the OSU School of Public Policy, said: “I am so proud of the work that my colleagues have done over the past three years. I am excited to continue growing our union and welcoming more of our colleagues into the wonderful community we’re building. Together, we can now focus on preparing to negotiate our first contract.”
Jan Medlock, an associate professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said: “I look forward to working with my colleagues and OSU administration to strengthen our institution. Collective bargaining is important to ensure research support as well as protect rigorous scientific inquiry.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “The Supreme Court and its right-wing backers may have declared war on public sector unions, but the faculty at OSU, alongside millions of higher education workers nationwide, are sending another message: Don’t count us out. Workers are forming and sticking with unions to bargain collectively to make possible what would be impossible for individuals acting alone. Unions are built for times like these, as a vehicle to help people secure a better life.
“We will have the OSU faculty’s back as they negotiate a first contract to preserve shared governance, improve working conditions, and create the best possible environment for teaching, learning, research and outreach.”
“The union victory at OSU shows that faculty understand that the key to protecting academic freedom and shared governance is through collective action,” said Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of AAUP. “The Janus Supreme Court ruling, bought and paid for by extreme right-wing interests, cannot stop faculty from expressing their views and seeking to have a voice to protect education as a common good.”
Paul Davis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, added: “This proves once again that, despite a questionable Supreme Court ruling and the efforts of special interest groups to destroy labor unions, individuals still want a collective voice and a say in their everyday work lives.”
For more information and updates about faculty unionization at OSU, visit uaosu.org; follow @UAOSU on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.