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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Avoiding contract settlement is University’s goal

“So great is the power of honesty,” says Cicero, “that we love it even in an enemy.”

A little honesty from the administration would be nice.

After announcing last Friday that she was cutting 100 full-time faculty positions, President Mazey released a brief update this week that had space for some significant misstatements. When she wrote “we continue to negotiate in good faith” she must have known that the administration had cancelled negotiating sessions for the week. It may be true that Mazey is, as she says, “pleased with the progress that has been made over the last week” but if she is, she’s the only one who is. Mazey insists that “reaching a mutually beneficial contract is the University’s top priority,” but if this were true the administration would have come to the table, negotiated like adults, and met the contract deadline of last July.

Avoiding a contract settlement has been the administration’s top priority since the creation of the faculty union. The previous administration even went to Columbus and had the state law changed, destroying the bargaining rights of public employees in this state. Ohio voters rejected this ploy and the administration was forced to return to the bargaining table — so sluggishly and so reluctantly that no progress was made on any issue until the mediator became involved in negotiations.

As recently as last November, the faculty union had to file a charge of unfair labor practices against the administration, because the administration refused to supply information on, among other things, the employee health plan. This data is not obscure and it is not secret; it is absolutely necessary for negotiating a key issue in the contract. But the administration simply won’t provide it, and the charge is still being adjudicated.

If the administration is so eager to reach a negotiated contract, why doesn’t it just supply the information it’s legally obligated to provide? In and of itself, that would be a huge step forward.

Let’s put the happy talk to one side. The administration is engaged in its favorite tactics of division and delay.

Delay at the bargaining table, where the administration team will use any excuse to avoid making progress.

And a fresh attempt to divide the faculty.

Mazey says in her update this week, “We anticipate that the majority of the faculty reductions will come from retirements and other voluntary departures. The remaining cuts will be determined after we negotiate the effects of this reduction with the Faculty Association.” The first bit is dubious (so much happens in life that we don’t anticipate, am I right?), but the second part is more interesting. It makes the remaining NTTF positions at risk into a bargaining chip in the ongoing contract negotiations. Either the faculty union gives on some issues or some more NTTF will be terminated. Sorry about that! It’s “necessary.”

No doubt the administration thinks it’s being very cunning. It thought so when it worked behind the scenes at Columbus to take away the rights of Ohio citizens. It thought so in the long campaign against the BGSU-FA’s very existence. And it probably thinks so now.

But what is the actual effect of their cunning move? All of a sudden, thousands of people all over the country are talking about the administration’s lack of commitment to academics, their hostility to the faculty. (Check out the more-than-5000 signatures at the petition protesting the firing of the BGSU 100:

Their quick $5 million of savings is turning into an incalculable public relations disaster. You couldn’t go out and buy the kind of bad publicity that the administration is getting for free.

Why not skip all the cunning moves and bold ploys? Why don’t they come to the table, negotiate like adults and sign a contract? That way the next news story about BGSU can be something we can all be proud of, instead of a national disgrace.

Respond to James at

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