The Oberlin Review

UAW Leadership Calls Outsourcing Plan Inconsistent with College’s Racial Justice Values

UAW 2192 Leadership Team

June 12, 2020

To Oberlin College, Historically, the United Auto Workers union has played an important role in pioneering civil rights and freedoms in and out of the workplace. The UAW has walked hand in hand with civil rights leaders and the civil rights movement — from helping fund the Montgomery bus boycott and the march from Selma to Montgomery to providing an office at the Solidarity House for Martin Luther King Jr., where he penned his “I Have a Dream” speech. The UAW was also there to post bail for Dr. King’s release in 1963 from a Birmingham City Jail. That is what the UAW stands for.  In a recent email from President Ambar where she spoke from the heart about the black community, she mentioned that “Oberlin ...

Ohio Federation of Teachers Responds to UAW Controversy

Melissa Cropper, President, Ohio Federation of Teachers

April 24, 2020

To President Carmen Twillie Ambar, We, the more than 20,000 members of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, stand in solidarity with our United Auto Workers brothers and sisters targeted for outsourcing at Oberlin College. Outsourcing more than 100 union workers in order to avoid paying health benefits is morally bankrupt in the best of times, but to do so during a global pandemic is absolutely unconscionable. Furthermore, union busting is especially egregious for an institution that markets its progressive history to draw students. As teachers, we know that the working conditions of the employees who make our schools run, whether that be custodians or food service providers, directly influence the ability of stud...

Tensions Between College, UAW Not New

Nathan Carpenter and Rachel Marcus

March 17, 2020

The current campus controversy around the proposal to outsource campus and dining services is not the first time that significant tensions have erupted between the College administration and members of Oberlin’s chapter of the United Automobile Workers union. Notably, in 1995, UAW members said they would strike if they were unable to reach agreeable contract terms with the College by March 31. Ultimately, a deal was reached an hour before the deadline and a strike was avoided. “The College recognizes the right of an individual to strike,” wrote Alan Moran, then-director of communications, in a March 30 memo to the Oberlin community. “The union has the right under the law to publicize the strike by picketi...

Students, staff, and community members rally at Wilder last week in support of union jobs at Oberlin.

Students Discuss UAW Concerns with Trustees

March 13, 2020

Student activists met with members of the Board of Trustees last week to denounce the College’s announcement that they are considering outsourcing up to 108 United Auto Worker jobs. In the meeting, students expressed their concerns and presented petitions that had been signed by students, alumni, and the broader Oberlin community. Elsa Schlensker, College fourth-year and chair of the Student Labor Action Coalition, was one of the students who presented. “The overall message that students h...

College plumber and United Auto Workers member Tom Wright works in Facilities Operations on campus

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...

DeCafé employee Allison Trimble hands back a student’s ID after swiping at the cash register. Five CDS UAW employees will be let go at the end of the semester due to Dascomb Dining Hall’s closure and other changes in CDS.

Unionized Staff Cuts Follow Dascomb Closure

April 13, 2018

Campus dining staff first learned of Dascomb Dining Hall’s impending closure at President Carmen Ambar’s respective financial presentation. Currently, 19 members of the United Auto Workers — the union that represents Campus Dining Services, custodial, and facilities staff — work in Dascomb, in addition to between 50 and 75 non-union, non-student workers. Although workers had expressed anxiety over what Dascomb’s closure would mean for their job security, it wasn’t until a week ago th...

Established 1874.