This week, more than three million Ohioans went to the polls to vote on a measure that would preserve public employee collective bargaining rights. Those rights were under attack from the state’s governor, John Kasich, who spearheaded the highly controversial Senate Bill 5, which would have essentially ended public employee unions, earlier this year. Supporters and opponents of the bill poured millions of dollars into the campaign to repeal it, and bill opponents ended up delivering more than 900,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot (a new state record). The AAUP raised more than $700,000 for the campaign, and collected more than 12,000 signatures for it.
As we learned on Tuesday, it wasn’t even close – voters rejected the new law by a margin of more than twenty percentage points
The day after the vote, AAUP president Cary Nelson and AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress chair Howard Bunsis released a statement congratulating Ohio faculty and their allies on a hard fought, crucial victory. They wrote, “Ohio voters realized that budgets cannot be balanced, nor can the economy be improved, by stripping workers of their rights. This country’s financial problems do not stem from overpaid firefighters, librarians, and faculty, but from economic policies that encourage the rich to get richer while undercutting basic services for all.” You can read the full statement on the AAUP website.
John Cuppoletti, president of the Ohio AAUP conference, thanked the AAUP members in Ohio as well as the national staff in a letter sent the day after the election. You can read that letter here.
As Nelson and Bunsis note, the fight for fair employment is far from over, especially in academia, where increasing numbers of faculty are working in contingent positions, with few benefits and no job security.