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Tenure, Sick Leave, CCP, & Anti-Labor Legislative Updates


Year-End Legislative Updates
Tenure, sick leave, CCP, and anti-labor proposals mark end of 2017
Sub. HB 66
The original version of House Bill 66 would have required a minimum undergraduate teaching load of three credit hours per semester for all public university tenured faculty. Upon facing push-back from stakeholders, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.), introduced a substitute bill that instead would create the "Undergraduate Mission Study Committee" to evaluate how each state university contributes to its undergraduate mission, including by encouraging face-to-face interactions between students and tenured faculty members.

The Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee adopted several additional amendments to the bill, including ones that add a member of the Ohio Faculty Council and member of the Ohio Student Government Association to the study committee, as well as one that would require the committee to study the breakdown of faculty at universities (e.g. full-time tenure track, full-time non-tenure track, and part-time faculty). The latter was our recommendation that was picked up and sponsored by Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid).

The bill was passed by the committee and passed the full House of Representatives on December 13. It has now moved on to the Senate, but has yet to be referred to committee. We expect that this legislation ultimately will be approved by the Senate and governor.


HB 298
During the state budget process earlier this year, an amendment was added by the House -- but later removed by the Senate -- to reduce sick leave for public college and university employees from 15 to 10 days. The same State Representative, Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Twp.), who sponsored that amendment has sponsored House Bill 298, which would reduce maximum sick leave accrual from 15 days to 10 days for all state employees who currently can accrue up to 15 days of sick time.

The bill had its first hearing, sponsor testimony, on December 12. Rep. Merrin presented this bill as a cost-savings measure for local governments and institutions of higher education, while calling 15 days of sick leave "excessive." The representative failed to provide specifics about cost-savings and faced skepticism from the State and Local Government Committee members. We will continue to monitor this legislation. At this time, we do not have reason to believe that this is priority legislation for the majority caucus.


SB 216
This legislation had not been on our radar, as it ostensibly only dealt with K-12 deregulation and testing provisions. However, buried in the bill is a significant change to the College Credit Plus (CCP) program.

If the bill were to pass as currently written, students would be forced to take CCP courses at the high school. The only exceptions for a student to take a course at a college or university is if the high school course is full or not offered. The bill also calls for the Ohio Department of Education to study CCP. One would think that the program should be studied before a drastic change is made to its delivery. While we support and encourage the state to study CCP, we intend to voice our concerns and opposition to the mandate that these courses be taken at the high school with limited exceptions.

As we stated in our 2017 Ohio Higher Education Report: Education First, no one can guarantee that students are learning material at a collegiate level if being taught by high school teachers. The fact that CCP students are getting higher scores when taught by high school teachers is potentially evidence that students are not encountering the same rigor that they would at an institution of higher education. This isn't to disparage high school educators -- higher ed faculty shouldn't be teaching high school any more than high school faculty should be teaching college.


Six Anti-Labor Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Rep. John Becker (R-Union Twp.), a recurrent sponsor of "right-to-work" legislation, has begun circulating a co-sponsor request for six proposed constitutional amendments. The legislature has the ability to initiate constitutional amendments to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide. Here are the six proposals as stated by Becker in his co-sponsor request:
  1. Private-sector Right-to-Work – No worker should be required to subsidize a union as a condition of employment. Additionally, this will tell the world that Ohio is “open for business.”
  2. Public-sector Right-to-Work – This is about freedom of association. Like for the private sector, no worker should be required to subsidize a union as a condition of employment.
  3. Public-sector Prevailing Wage – Repeals the requirement for taxpayers to pay artificially inflated wages, rather than those that are market-based. 
  4. Public-sector Paycheck Protection – This prohibits state and local government employers from withholding union dues or fees from workers’ wages. Additionally, unions will be prohibited from spending workers’ money on political activities without workers’ consent. 
  5. Public-sector Project Labor Agreements – This is the Michigan model approved by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. State and local government entities will be prohibited from engaging in contracts that minimize competition for construction projects by requiring that only union or non-union labor can be considered. A level playing field will be required. 
  6. Public-sector Union Recertification – Requires annual reconsideration and recertification of workers’ bargaining units. This will open up competition for new bargaining units, will give workers a chance to have their voices heard, and will make union leadership accountable to their membership.
Given that we are entering a big state election year, we would be hard-pressed to believe that Republican leadership would have the appetite to pursue such anti-labor initiatives, especially ones that could drive traditionally Democratic voters to the polls. Nevertheless, the We Are Ohio labor coalition is taking this seriously and pushing back against this onslaught of bad ideas that will hurt working Ohioans.

Please take a moment to send a letter to your State Representative, urging them to reject these anti-worker initiatives.
Reminder:
Nominations Open for 2018 Conference Elections

President, Secretary, At-Large Position to be elected
We are seeking nominations for the 2018 Ohio Conference AAUP Board of Trustees' elections. In accordance with our governing document, you must have been a member for at least two years and current on your dues to be eligible for a trustee position. Members may self-nominate.

Nominations should be sent to Sara Kilpatrick, Executive Director, at sara@ocaaup.org no later than January 30, 2018. 

Below is the list of positions to be elected directly through the Conference elections this year. Those who are elected will serve a two-year term beginning September 1, 2018.
  • President
  • Secretary
  • At-Large Member: Private Institution (nominee must be a member of a private institution)
The President shall preside at Conference meetings and, with the approval of the Trustees, arrange for the Conference meetings and appoint Chairs of the standing committees; shall execute such matters as are referred to him or her at Conference meetings and by the Trustees; and, in consultation with the Trustees, shall take such other actions as are judged necessary to carry out the objectives of the Ohio Conference, and shall report at the next Conference meeting any actions taken by the Trustees during the time between meetings. The President shall serve as delegate to the Annual National AAUP meeting and to the Annual meeting of the Assembly of State Conferences.

The Secretary shall keep the Ohio Conference records, including minutes of meetings of the Trustees and of the Conference. The Secretary shall serve as a delegate to the Annual meeting of the Assembly of State Conferences.

The Conference has four Saturday Board meetings in Columbus each academic year that trustees are expected to attend, one of which is the Annual Meeting. They also oversee the executive director and provide direction for the organization.

Serving on the Board of Trustees is a rewarding way to engage in statewide AAUP issues and state government advocacy. If you have any questions, contact Sara Kilpatrick at sara@ocaaup.org

Happy Holidays!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our members very happy holidays. It is because of your membership, support, and activism that the Ohio Conference is able to be an effective voice for faculty statewide. Thank you for helping to make 2017 a productive year, and we look forward to working together in 2018. Enjoy your break!