In the spring of 2014, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law faculty voted to form a union–as a distinct collective-bargaining unit within the existing AAUP chapter at Cleveland State University. Faculty in every other CSU college have been unionized for more than 20 years. Indeed, nationally Cleveland-Marshall has been one of a very few law schools to unionize in the last 25 years.
Since the successful vote to form the CB unit, negotiations have been underway for two years, but the faculty and the university administration have been unable to reach agreement on some important issues.
The bargaining unit’s positions reflect the long-standing status quo and current best practices at peer institutions. The bargaining unit remains committed to maintaining a strong and stable faculty in order to continue to provide the highest quality educational experience for the students at the law school.
Although the parties have agreed on some issues, the faculty has decided to seek objective resolution of the remaining issues by the neutral fact-finder selected several months ago by both the university administration and the bargaining unit. The fact-finder will receive evidence from both sides during a two-day hearing on May 9-10.
The bargaining unit is confident that the neutral fact-finder will resolve these issues fairly and issue a decision that will allow the faculty to continue to work with the university administration to serve the best interests of the students in the law school and the Cleveland legal community. Specifically, by seeking an objective settlement of the outstanding issues, the faculty is demonstrating its commitment to collaborating with the administration to build on the law school’s recent 21-point rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Moreover, the law school is preparing for a national search for a new dean beginning this summer or fall. Expeditious resolution by an objective neutral will help pave the way for that process and help attract a pool of highly qualified candidates.
The faculty believes that finalizing a collective bargaining agreement with the university represents the optimal resolution not only for the law school but also for the entire university.
The bargaining unit, which is the newest AAUP-affiliated CB unit in Ohio, has received assistance and support from both the CSU-AAUP and the Ohio Conference AAUP.