The Oberlin Review

Hourly Workers Maintain AAPR Concerns

Hourly Workers Maintain AAPR Concerns

May 10, 2019

Tensions remain high between Oberlin’s unionized hourly workers and the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee. After weeks of collecting community feedback, the committee is wrapping up its work and preparing to submit its final recommendations to President Carmen Twillie Ambar at the end of this semester. Many constituent groups have endorsed the AAPR’s recommendations. Last week, the Educational Plans and Policies Committee, the Educational Policy Committee, the College F...

AAPR Unveils Draft of Final Recommendations

AAPR Unveils Draft of Final Recommendations

May 3, 2019

On Monday, the steering committee of the Academic and Administrative Program Review released a public draft of its final recommendations that will be submitted to President Carmen Twillie Ambar at the end of this semester. The draft, a 59-page document expanding on the initial areas of recommendation made public in March, was the subject of a well-attended public forum yesterday. According to Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and AAPR Chair David Kamitsuka, the draft was informed by feedb...

AAPR Prompts Concern Among Union Supporters

AAPR Prompts Concern Among Union Supporters

April 12, 2019

Oberlin is considering eliminating over 50 staff lines — a decision which could impact up to 40 current employees — as part of the Academic and Administrative Program Review. This is part of just one of the AAPR steering committee’s areas of recommendation meant to address Oberlin’s structural budget deficit. The steering committee referenced Oberlin’s exorbitant employee costs as a reason for the area of recommendation, claiming that 63 percent of Oberlin’s operating budget goes toward em...

OCOPE Files Grievances Against College

Jenna Gyimesi, News Editor

September 28, 2018

The Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees union has filed multiple grievances against the College. OCOPE claims the College violated their contract by eliminating or reducing union jobs and then assigning the work to outside companies or non-union members. Earlier this year, the College was found to be in violation of OCOPE’s collective bargaining agreement following an arbitration process with the National Labor Relations Board. If the newly-filed grievances reach the level of arbitration, it will be the second time in two years that OCOPE has brought the College to a hearing. OCOPE represents approximately 170 employees. Within the year, three OCOPE positions have been eliminated — a building ser...

NLRB Sides With OCOPE in Suit Against College

NLRB Sides With OCOPE in Suit Against College

April 20, 2018

The Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees union recently won a suit against the College with the National Labor Relations Board. The charges, filed in January, claimed that the College violated their mutually agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement by placing temporary workers, who make $14 an hour and receive no employment benefits or insurance, in OCOPE positions longer than is stipulated in the contract. The NLRB found the College in violation of the contract during arbitration. ...

College Should Have Avoided Union Violations

Phyllis J. Jones

April 20, 2018

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

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

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...

Chemistry Hiring Delays Favor Temps

Michael B. Palazzolo, OCOPE Personnel Coordinator

April 21, 2017

As a longtime member of Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees, Office and Professional Employees International Union, local 502, I would like to express my dismay at how the recent search for a new administrative assistant for the Chemistry department has been handled. Not only was the posting of the position unnecessarily delayed for many months, contrary to language in the contract between the College and the Union, but the internal candidates for the position were misinformed about certain parameters of the job during the interviews, necessitating the reposting of the position and further delaying the process. Could it be that the rumors are true, that the Chemistry department will do what...

OCOPE Files Unfair Labor Practices Complaint

OCOPE Files Unfair Labor Practices Complaint

March 10, 2017

Oberlin College Offices and Profession Employees filed a charge of unfair labor practices against the College with the National Labor Relations Board Feb. 21, specifying that the College failed to abide by its collective bargaining contract with the union. The charge specifically refers to the College’s refusal to release information relating to OCOPE’s employees and their job descriptions, information necessary for the union’s ability to advocate for its members, according to OCOPE President Tr...

OCOPE Clarifies Facts

Tracy Tucker and OCOPE Executive Board

March 3, 2017

To the Editors: It has come to our attention that incorrect information about Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees continues to spread across campus. We know the source of much of this misinformation and have requested that the College correct the errors, but since that is not happening, we believe it is important to share the truth. The College’s continued refusal to provide requested information or adhere to the collective bargaining agreement has forced OCOPE to take extraordinary action. An unfair labor practice charge was filed with the National Labor Relations Board Monday, Feb. 20. We will continue to defend the rights of our members and our contract both by continuing our effort to work with the Co...

Administrators, Unions at Odds on Cuts

Administrators, Unions at Odds on Cuts

February 10, 2017

In the aftermath of the College’s campus-wide staff buyout program, custodians, administrative assistants and Campus Dining Service workers face insecurity and have voiced concern over the continual elimination of staff positions and potential work overload. Last spring, the administration created the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, which was intended to save the College money by replacing veteran staff members with younger, lower-salary employees. VSIP grants each outgoing employee...

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