Faculty union membership levels up

Rachel Abbey

With a continuing contract dispute, membership in the American Association of University Professors is higher than ever before.

About 59 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty are now members of the union. In addition, some non-tenure track faculty are involved, totaling more than 1,000 faculty members in the Kent State chapter of the union.

The recent contract problems have shown faculty members they must work together to form a solid contract, helping to protect their rights as employees, said Cheryl Casper, AAUP-KSU president and university professor.

“I think the university’s behavior has been a wake-up call to the faculty,” Casper said. She said the union continues to hope the university will accept the debated contract.

In the late ’90s, the union had a large jump in membership. Since then, growth has been steady, despite the loss of members because of retirement incentives. This means new faculty members have continued to join, Casper said.

This year is the union’s 30th anniversary at Kent State, Casper said. During these years, the AAUP-KSU has worked hard to keep the faculty’s salaries competitive with the rest of the state.

The union helps to secure the best possible terms of employment for faculty and has maintained a strong working relationship with the administration.

The recent disagreements are not typical, Casper said.

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].