State legislators introduce bill that would give adjuncts collective bargaining rights

Today, Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) introduced Nina Turnercompanion legislation that would grant collective bargaining rights to adjunct faculty and graduate students.

There is nothing in current Ohio law that compels a public institution of higher learning to deal with a union as the representative of its part-time faculty. That would change if the legislation introduced today, House Bill 96 and Senate Bill 65, is approved.

Turner said she sees adjunct faculty as “a pivotal part of the fabric of higher education” who “need a seat at the table to ensure that they’re being treated fairly.”

“Adjuncts and graduate assistants deserve to have the same rights as full time professors, especially with colleges and universities relying more heavily on these part time employees,” Strahorn said. “It is not fair or right to have these disparities in working conditions and benefits for people who do the same kind of work.”

The legislation introduced today simply says that part-time faculty should no longer be excluded from collective bargaining if they so choose.

strahornAccording to a statement on Strahorn’s website, “adjunct faculty members are the back bone of many of our colleges and universities. With more schools depending on part-time faculty to teach the same courses as full time professors, the passage of this bill would send a clear message that the state believes in fundamental fairness and that we value the contributions of our entire teaching faculty at our institutions of higher learning.”

Strahorn was one of a group of representatives who introduced a similar bill, HB 468, in the 127th General Assembly in February of 2008. Other sponsors included Reps. Brown, DeBose, Lundy, Miller, Oelslager, Skindell and S. Williams.

At a Faculty-Legislator exchange in late February 2009 that was sponsored by the Ohio Conference AAUP, Representative Kathleen Chandler promised to revive the legislation after being petitioned by two part-time faculty members at the University of Akron.

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