Despite the massive public opposition to Senate Bill 83, the legislature plans to take up the bill again this fall. We are asking our members and allies to fight back once again and encourage the House of Representatives to reject SB 83!
SB 83 had passed the Ohio Senate but did not have sufficient support in the House Higher Education Committee to advance. The Senate inserted SB 83’s language into the state budget bill, but it was ultimately removed by the budget conference committee, again because it didn’t have the necessary support in the House of Representatives.
SB 83 sponsor, Sen. Jerry Cirino, is attempting to work with House Higher Education Committee Chairman, Rep. Tom Young, to push the bill over the finish line. We know that Sen. Cirino will attempt to “divide and conquer” labor by removing staff unions from the no-strike provision of the bill, leaving just faculty unions without the ability to strike, as he told The Columbus Dispatch in this article.
Make no mistake that our sisters and brothers in the labor movement still stand with us unequivocally. A threat to any labor is a threat to all labor.
The pending version of SB 83 in the House not only bans the right to strike, but it also prohibits faculty from bargaining over certain subjects–tenure, retrenchment, workload, and evaluations. Under the guise of not wanting to disrupt student learning, the true intent of this portion of SB 83 is to weaken the power of faculty to advocate for fair working conditions, which are students’ learning conditions.
SB 83 remains a sweeping piece of legislation that proposes an unprecedented level of political interference and micromanagement into the affairs of Ohio’s colleges and universities, both public and private.
Throughout its multiple iterations, the bill has been a series of contradictions on freedom of speech, claiming to promote intellectual diversity while simultaneously dictating the manner in which certain topics can be discussed and eliminating other topics from any discussion. It would ban institutions from requiring the types of trainings that ensure all students, no matter their backgrounds, can succeed.
The untenable mandates in SB 83 would shift money, time, and attention from student learning to bloated bureaucracy. It would make it harder to attract students and faculty to Ohio institutions; in the long run, Ohio will become even less competitive economically.
None of this enhances higher education. Instead, this is a bill deeply rooted in Culture-War ideology. In an effort to score political points, the legislature could do real, irreversible damage to our institutions of higher education. We must stop SB 83! Use this form to email State Representatives to ask them to reject the bill.