Faculty to vote on AAUP fee

Amanda Garrett

All full-time faculty are voting on a proposal to require non-union faculty to pay the equivalent of dues to the American Association of University Professors, Kent State Chapter.

Ballots for the fair share fee are being mailed out this week and are due by midnight on Nov. 1, AAUP President Cheryl Casper said. The proposal is divided into two votes, one for tenure track and one for non-tenure track faculty.

Both proposals must receive an absolute majority of 50 percent plus 1 to pass. AAUP membership in the tenure track unit is currently 60 percent of the 850 faculty members, Casper said. The non-tenure track unit has about 250 members out of 370 faculty.

If the fee passes, it will begin next fall and will require all non-union members to pay about 90 percent of the dues that union members contribute. AAUP members currently pay 8/10 of 1 percent of their salary in dues.

The AAUP will audit their expenses this year to determine the amount of money spent on collective bargaining and grievances. The audit will determine the percentage of the fair share fee, which is expected to be about 90 percent of dues. The fee will be in place until the contract expires in 2008, Associate Provost Gayle Ormiston said.

Most Ohio universities that have a faculty union have a fair-share fee, Casper said.

“It’s not unusual that we’re requesting a fair-share fee,” she said. “What is unusual is that it has taken so long for Kent to put a fee in place. We feel it is long overdue.”

The vote was part of the collective bargaining agreement that Kent State reached with the AAUP last August.

The AAUP requested that fair share be imposed during collective bargaining, but the university insisted that a vote be held first, Ormiston said.

“We felt that fair share shouldn’t be imposed on faculty,” he said. “If the faculty wants fair share, they’ll vote for it.”

Casper said the fee will go to help Kent State faculty.

The AAUP brings in about $270,000 a year, most of it in dues, Casper said.

The majority of the AAUP’s expenses are spent on arbitration and grievance procedures for faculty, Casper said. The rest of the money goes to dues to the national AAUP, and to the salaries of AAUP-KSU’s two employees.

One of the benefits of a fair share fee is that it increases union membership, Casper said.

“People usually realize that for a small increase in their fee, they can have full membership rights,” she said. “They can participate in AAUP elections and decide the future course of the union.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].