The Word - 2011/04/04

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of April 4, 2011

“WE ARE OHIO” RALLY THIS SATURDAY

CSEA urges you to plan to attend the “We Are Ohio” rally on the west lawn of the Statehouse this Saturday, April 9, from noon-3 PM to kick off the campaign to place a referendum on the November ballot to repeal Senate Bill 5.

SB5, signed into law last week by Gov. Kasich, eliminates collective bargaining rights for college faculty and effectively reduces other public employees to having the right to beg rather than bargain for improvements in wages and working conditions.

A coalition of police, fire, teacher, government employee and private-sector labor unions, churches, community action organizations, and many others hope to turn out people from across the political spectrum at the rally to build the energy it will take (collecting nearly a quarter million signatures) to place the referendum on the ballot.

Gathering more than enough signatures will be critical to the success of this petition drive, so there will also be training sessions in the coming weeks for people intending to circulate referendum petitions. A list of currently scheduled trainings is attached to this newsletter. CSEA is also looking into scheduling a training session here on campus, but don’t assume that will be possible. Plan to attend one of the trainings in your part of community.

Be at the Statehouse Saturday at noon. It’s going to be big, so you might consider taking public transportation. Bring signs. Bring energy. Bring friends, neighbors, and anyone else who supports the rights of working people to collectively bargain in Ohio.

WHAT SB5 MEANS TO YOU & YOUR ASSOCIATION

Given that SB5’s sponsors, unlike the most basic student, did absolutely no homework on the implications of the bill’s provisions, it’s worth considering a few of the new law’s more glaring flaws.

  • The law makes every provision of our current contract void after June 30. At that time, all agreements achieved over the past 10 years become subject to the whim of managers and other administrators.
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  • The law reclassifies college faculty as “supervisors” who are therefore not eligible to join associations to bargain collectively.
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  • The law requires teachers to be paid based on the vague concept of "merit pay." The merit pay provision is an unfunded mandate that provides no funds for the development and carrying out of whatever processes and standards each school district will need to assess “merit.” This sets the stage for varied and thus inequitable standards throughout the state. Furthermore, much research has demonstrated that the concept of "merit pay" may work well for piecemeal-type production (how many widgets can you assemble in an hour), but has proven to be ineffective for professionals who are motivated to excel by factors other than pay. “Merit pay” makes teachers “merit” only as good as their worst students.
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  • The law reduces the number of sick days that public employees receive each year from 15 down to 10.
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  • Removes seniority as the only basis for layoff, instead allowing administrators to make decisions about layoffs based on factors such as salaries and cost-savings that could be realized.
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  • Removes the ability of local associations to charge "fair share" fees, essentially making Ohio a so-called "right-to-work" state. The 22 right-to-work states have been shown to have overall lower standards of living than the 28 non-right-to-work states.

CSEA OBJECTION TO COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER

A significant number of faculty and academic administrators expressed their disappointment with the selection of the Winter Quarter commencement speaker, as well as with the address that he gave. CSEA President Darrell Minor spoke with Dr. Harrison the afternoon of commencement, and sent a letter to him expressing the Association’s disappointment in the college's selection of Sen. Tom Niehaus as graduation commencement speaker. Senator Neihaus, faced with the fact that fellow Republicans on Senate committees were refusing to support the bill’s extreme restrictions on fundamental working rights, twice replaced Republican committee members in order to rush the bill out of those two committees. Under his direction, SB 5 passed out of committees, moved quickly by the Senate, and was ramrodded to the House for consideration without giving those opposed to it a full hearing on the Senate floor.

Dr. Harrison indicated that he understood the concerns we raised, and assured us that there was absolutely no intent on his or the college's part to send a political message of any kind with the selection of Sen. Niehaus as commencement speaker. The invitation to Sen Niehaus was proffered before SB 5 was introduced, and long before his unethical handling of SB5 in the senate occurred. Sen. Niehaus was also asked to keep his address apolitical and focused on the students - his decision to do otherwise was his own. Dr. Harrison also indicated that he is reviewing the process for selection of commencement speakers.

HR TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON STRS CHANGES

Human Resources is going to send out the presentation on state pension changes (STRS, SERS) as a PowerPoint presentation this week. Payroll Administrator Lou Ann Carman, along with CSEA, encourage all faculty to be informed because STRS, under considerable pressure from the Governor’s office and as a result of the Governor's proposed budget, is implementing the most drastic changes that were under consideration for changing public employee pension systems. These will include larger deductions from each paycheck for your retirement fund (perhaps as much as an additional 6%), changes in retirement eligibility, changes in the computation of the Final Average Salary (FAS) that would reduce retirement income for all new retirees, elimination of the enhanced benefit for years of service beyond 30, and a reduction in the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). Watch for Lou Ann's email, and monitor the STRS website as well: www.strsoh.org.

SOCIAL SCIENCES FACULTY SPONSORING NATIONAL TEACH-IN EVENT

A number of Social Sciences faculty are sponsoring and participating in a national Teach-In event on Tuesday, April 5, from 2:00 - 5:00 in the Nestor Hall auditorium. The event will include a live webcast from New York City with hosts Frances Fox Piven (professor at CUNY) and Cornell West (professor at Princeton) from 2:00 - 3:30, and a panel discussion/Q&A with faculty from Columbus State from 3:30 - 5:00. Among the topics expected to be discussed are the impact the budget crisis has on higher education (e.g., student financial aid) and how the attacks on public-sector employees (such as SB 5) affect both K-12 and higher education.

CSEA NEGOTIATIONS SURVEY

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the online survey about issues for negotiations. The results both confirm much of what we suspected were priorities for faculty and provided greater insights into specific concerns that some of you have. Negotiations begin this Thursday, and are scheduled to continue through the end of May.

STATE FUNDING FOR COLUMBUS STATE

Before announcing his resignation as chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Eric Fingerhut worked diligently to convince the incoming administration and newly-elected state senators and representatives of the importance of investing in higher education. The previous legislature demonstrated bi-partisan support for higher education, and chancellor Fingerhut indicated the need to educate new legislators about the significant impact that higher education has on Ohio's economy. For example, data from last year had shown that the unemployment rate for Ohioans who have a college education was about 5%, while the unemployment rate for Ohioans without a college education was about 13%. Employed people pay income taxes, spend money, pay sales taxes, and help improve the state's revenue stream.

As a result of the funding formula for the State Share of Instruction (SSI) that was implemented during chancellor Fingerhut's tenure at OBR, and the continued growth at our own college (which has outpaced the statewide growth rate), Columbus State is expected to receive an additional $4.7 million in SSI for FY 2012 (an increase of 8.8% over FY 2011), and an additional $1.6 million in SSI for FY 2013 (an increase of 2.8% over FY 2012).

ADDITIONAL ITEMS IN STATE BUDGET

Several additional items in Governor Kasich's proposed budget could affect you directly. CSEA is working with OEA, OBR, and other organizations and individuals to monitor and get clarification on how these proposals might impact the 2-year public colleges in Ohio:

  • Charter Universities: the chancellor of OBR is to produce a report with recommendations regarding the implementation of a charter university program. Such charter universities would receive less state funding in exchange for being exempt from some state regulations.
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  • Remediation costs: OBR to report the "remediation rate" and associated costs and produce recommendations to reduce these costs by 50%.
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  • Faculty workload: colleges and universities would be required to increase faculty research and teaching loads by one class every other year.
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  • Three-year degrees: universities would be required to produce plans to implement an option of three-year baccalaureate degrees. The plan to transition 10% of programs would be due in 2012, and a plan to transition 60% of programs would be due in 2014. It is not yet clear which, if any, course requirements would be reduced or eliminated in order to be able to obtain a degree in three years.

CSEA and OEA will continue to monitor these proposals and the ongoing discussions that are occurring.


The Word is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Darrell Minor, President/ x5310
Kevin James, Vice-President / x5008
Judy Anderson, Secretary / x5453
Phil MacLean, Treasurer / x5308
Ingrid Emch, Parliamentarian-elect / x5824

Gil Feiertag, Senior Association Representative, Career & Technical / x5861
Health, Dental and Veterinary Technology
Allied Health

Steve Abbott, Senior Association Representative, Arts & Sciences / x5096
Business

T.J. Duda / x5309
Construction Science
Automotive
Engineering Technology

Gilberto Serrano / x3863
Mathematics

Beth Barnett / x2593
Hospitality, Massage Therapy and Sports & Exercise Studies

Bill Cook / x5364
Communications

Mort Javadi / x5635
Physical Sciences

Jackie Miller / x2601
Nursing & Related Services

Mark Mitchell / x3612
Justice & Safety

Keith Sanders/ x5288
Humanities

Mike Schumacher / 5482
Social Sciences
Psychology

Cindy Evans / x2435
Human Services

Dr. Antoinette Perkins / x5754
Marketing & Graphic Communication
Computer Information Technology

Eric Neubauer / x5698
English

Amy Brubaker / x5068
Developmental Education
Modern Languages

Dr. Sue Longenbaker / x2430
Biological Sciences


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