The Oberlin Review

College Should Have Avoided Union Violations

Phyllis J. Jones

April 20, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: Nearly 50 years ago, a group of Oberlin office and library workers showed the courage and foresight to organize a new labor union on campus, Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees, to address the glaring inequities they faced as employees. Today, OCOPE continues to play an essential role in bringing economic justice to its 164 members. In early 2017, OCOPE filed charges on the basis of unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board, whose recently-issued decision ruled in favor of the union. Furthermore, an arbitration heard this past December also found that the College had violated its contract with OCOPE. Labor disputes are costly for both sides, and the College has undoub...

Union Victory Provides Dignity to All Workers

Chris Howell

April 13, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: One of the dispiriting things about Oberlin College is the disjunction between the analytical tools and burning social justice values that we teach and discuss in class, and the application of those same tools and values when it comes to the largely invisible labor performed by workers at the College. This is an institution that would collapse without its custodians, administrative assistants, dining hall workers, librarians, and the myriad other workers who allow the school to function. We are attuned to manifestations of power in its most fine, capillary forms, to privilege and microaggression in language and glance, as we should be. But when it comes to these workers, we are all suddenly neoliberals...

OCOPE Resolutions Indicate Larger Issues in Community

Tracy Tucker

April 13, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: Many people have asked what caused Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees to file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and take grievances to arbitration. Simply put, these actions were taken to protect the contractual rights of administrative assistants on campus. Oberlin College refused to adhere to long-standing policies and practices that were agreed upon and included in the OCOPE-Oberlin College contract years ago. Some of the disputed matters include hiring procedures, assigning administrative assistant work to non-bargaining unit positions, and refusing to provide information necessary for OCOPE to properly administer the contract and represent members. Language in the contra...

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