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Miami’s faculty union passes by almost two thirds of vote

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The vote for Miami University’s proposed faculty union, the Faculty Alliance of Miami (FAM), has passed and will be recognized by the Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB).

A total of 691 ballots were received by SERB, making up 86% of eligible voters. Tenure, tenure-track and teaching, clinical professors and lecturers were eligible to vote.

The vote passed by 65%, with 450 votes in favor and 241 votes against. The results were announced on FAM’s Twitter page. Miami will be the 10th university to form a faculty union out of Ohio’s 14 public four-year universities.

“We knew we would win, but we didn’t know we would win by this much,” Cathy Wagner, an organizer for FAM, said. “It’s extremely validating and exciting, and we’re really looking forward to getting into the bargaining process.”

Although the faculty union passed, there is now a 10-day objection period, where the vote could be challenged by FAM or the university. The vote will not be certified until it is approved by SERB at its June 8 meeting. After it is approved, the union will begin bargaining with the university.

Wagner said a bargaining survey will be sent out to evaluate the priorities of the eligible members. After the survey results are collected, a bargaining council will be formed.

“That will be a pretty big group, we hope,” Wagner said. “We want to have lots of people volunteer for that, and those folks are the ones who are going to work on hammering out the articles that we will try to move forward [with] in our contract.”

Wagner said shared governance, workload, promotion, tenure and job security are some of the primary concerns she expects to come up during bargaining negotiations.

In an email to The Miami Student, Alecia Lipton, the associate director of media relations at Miami, said the university is prepared for negotiations and will prioritize support for faculty, students and academic excellence.

“While we can't predict how negotiations will play out or how long they will take, we expect it will take some time to establish our first faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement …” Lipton wrote. “University administration has always recognized faculty’s right to organize and respects the thoughtful consideration our faculty members have exercised throughout this process, along with the election results.”

FAM first announced its unionization efforts in February 2022. In March 2023, SERB ruled that librarians and visiting assistant professors couldn’t be included in the bargaining unit, but Wagner said FAM will continue to support those excluded from the union as they begin negotiations.

“It’s been important to us all along to support non-tenure track faculty, and it’s really a sad thing that due to the university’s objections, the fact that the SERB’s board excluded some non-tenure track faculty from the union,” Wagner said. “That’s not our choice … and we intend to keep on supporting those faculty.”

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Miami’s librarians announced their intent to unionize separately in March. Their voting window will open May 23.