Resolution on the Treatment of Oberlin Employees

This resolution is the product of wide-ranging conversations among the various employee groups on campus. It identifies a set of principles and concrete demands to ensure the fair and humane treatment of all employees, consistent with our values as a college community.

Since the time of its founding, Oberlin College has stood for a commitment to equality and social justice, and identified as a place organized around the principles of learning and labor. These values must be equally applicable to the treatment of its employees and to its educational mission. Oberlin’s employees, faculty, and staff alike, have a deep personal investment in the College, and the greatest long-term commitment to it; we make our lives here. Neither the wider mission of Oberlin College nor challenging financial times can be used to justify or excuse treating its employees without dignity, respect, and fairness. Those employed at Oberlin College are not disposable and should not bear the burden for mismanagement or the consequences of decisions over which they have no control.

For all employees this means:

  • Job loss should only take place after all alternatives are exhausted.
  • Any reduction in jobs should take place through attrition.
  • Full consultation with the relevant employee group and its elected representatives should precede any loss of jobs or substantial change to compensation.
  • Terminated employees should receive appropriate severance pay and continuation of benefits.
  • Remaining employees should not be burdened with substantial additional work as a result of job loss; eliminating jobs must be
  • accompanied by eliminating the work done
  • The principle of grandfathering should be applied to any benefit changes that involve long-term financial commitments (such as college tuition for dependents and pension contributions).
  • Advance notice (a minimum of three months) of potential job termination should be given and consultation about alternatives short of termination should take place.
  • Priority over external candidates and opportunities for training to move into vacant positions should be ensured.

This further means:

  • Scrupulous respect for tenure
  • Commitment to AAUP principles and procedures for any faculty terminations
  • Protection of visiting and non-tenure-track faculty from greater workloads, and commitment to multi-year contracts to allow planning and stability wherever possible
  • Scrupulous respect for the letter of union contracts
  • Protection of bargaining unit jobs, including no attempt to replace union positions with non-union ones, either by other internal employees or outsourcing

We are committed to the principle of solidarity across employee groups. We will not allow one employee group to be played off against another, or the poor treatment of one used to justify the protection of another. An injury to one is an injury to all.

American Association of University Professors Oberlin Chapter, Executive Committee
Milton Wyman, Chair of the United Auto Workers Oberlin College
Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees, Executive Board
Oberlin Student Labor Action Coalition