Kent State University Part-Time Faculty are Now Steelworkers

Kent State University Part-Time faculty members voted unanimously to join the Kent Part Time Faculty Alliance (KPTFA), an affiliate of the United Steelworkers union. Representing over half of all faculty, the 1349 part-time faculty teach at Kent’s main and seven regional campuses. Unlike tenured, full-time faculty, the part-time faculty members had not received a raise in over ten years, receive no healthcare benefits, and no free tuition. According to reports, part-time faculty classes are sometimes dropped the day before the semester begins, their hours are purposely kept below the amount needed for healthcare coverage, and their contracts end in May depriving them from receiving unemployment benefits during the summer non-teaching months.

In typical union parlance, the co-chair of KPTFA said, “These part-timers earn sick days they can never use. Daily they travel the roads of northeast Ohio to teach at other universities to get enough work. They work two and three jobs just to scratch out a living. We listened at the meeting to one part time faculty member who, last Spring, taught at five colleges across three states just to make ends meet.”

It will be interesting to see how much, if any, changes are made through collective bargaining.

Matt Austin who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.

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