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Season 4, Episode 125

Multiple Miami University faculty groups win union representation



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Theresa Kulbaga and Rachel Makarowski

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Two members of the Faculty Alliance of Miami at Miami University, Theresa Kulbaga and Rachel Makarowski, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss organizing victories for teachers and staff at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Kulbalga also spoke about the issues they overcame in founding FAM, while Makarowski provided details on the librarians’ fight to join the Union.

The Faculty Alliance of Miami began as an advocacy group of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers. The advocacy group had made some progress in teacher and staff workplace improvements. However, during the pandemic, they found they needed more employment protections. This led to the formation of the teacher and staff organizing efforts in early 2022. After a long fight, FAM was formed with the recognition of a successful vote to unionize in 2023.

After making organizing efforts public in February 2022 and turning in union cards in the summer of 2022, FAM faced its first major obstacle. Management began to run an anti-union campaign to subvert the union by separating the multiple groups from each other. The campaign eventually led to a board hearing that determined only tenured teachers and teaching staff could be in the bargaining unit. In contrast, librarians and visiting teachers had to form a separate bargaining unit. In response, the organizers created the FAM LUV project to hold events to educate and grow union sentiment in the community, said Kulbaga.

Following the board’s decision, the librarians turned in signed union cards within a week. The group thought they would face a fight after the board’s decision. However, they received support from FAM and the rest of the Miami University community. Without that support, Makarowski believes it may have turned out differently. However, when the union vote came, the Librarians voted to approve the union 28-0, she said.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more.


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