FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 17, 2023
CCAD Faculty Votes to Form their Union with the Ohio Federation of Teachers by Overwhelming Majority
After Management’s Lack of Voluntary Recognition, CCAD Faculty Vote and Unite Through NLRB Election
COLUMBUS — Today, an overwhelming majority of the 154 full-time and adjunct faculty at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) voted to form their union with the Ohio Federation of Teachers, naming themselves the CCAD Faculty Alliance (CFA). They voted by secret ballot administered by the NLRB after the CCAD Board of Trustees refused to voluntarily recognize their union.
“We could not be more thrilled to have finally won our union after months of organizing,” said Patrick Lay, an adjunct faculty member. “Having our union in place will allow us to focus on providing the best education possible instead of being bogged down by struggles to make ends meet or fighting to change an inefficient and inequitable system. It is a win-win for students, faculty and our community.”
Back in September, 2023, 72% of CCAD full-time and adjunct faculty submitted signed union cards to the National Labor Relations Board, calling for the CCAD Board of Trustees to voluntarily recognize their union, as many non-profits and educational institutions have done. However, management refused to acknowledge the request, prompting faculty members to file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board.
“We decided a union was necessary after feeling like our concerns were not taken seriously by management. The majority of faculty members at CCAD have no benefits or job security that extends beyond individual semesters. Our students stand to benefit the most from consistent instructors who have a voice in decisions that affect the classroom, which we believe is only possible through having a strong union,” said Carol Boram-Hays, an associate professor.
The use of non-tenured faculty across the country has steadily increased over the last few decades; more than 70 percent of college and university faculty are now considered “contingent workers” who work without the protections of tenure, according to data from the American Association of University Professors. This translates to little job security, few benefits and low pay. A 2022 survey of 1,043 contingent faculty members by the American Federation of Teachers found that more than a quarter earn less than $26,500 annually, employment is only guaranteed for a term or semester at a time for 75% of respondents, and only 45% have access to employer-provided health insurance. Improving the work environment and gaining a voice in academic decisions are top priorities for CFA members.
“CCAD is a vital institution for Columbus and central Ohio, educating generations of illustrators, designers, animators, architects, photographers, and other fine artists and creative professionals. When faculty have an organized union voice, they’re able to work together with administration to make improvements that will help the institution thrive for the good of students, faculty, staff, and CCAD’s entire community,” said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
CFA is organized as an affiliate of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) who represent active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, library workers and social work professionals in 58 local unions across Ohio. Since 2021, staff at seven Ohio schools, libraries, or organizations have successfully joined OFT (Worthington Libraries, Grandview Heights Public Library, KIPP Columbus, Summit Academy in Lorain, Menlo Park Academy in Cleveland, the School of Bright Promise in Steubenville, and Equitas Health in locations across Ohio). An eighth, Pickerington Public Library, is waiting for their union election.
CCAD is affiliated with Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of 39 non-profit independent colleges of art & design in the US and Canada. At least 18 of those AICAD affiliated colleges currently have faculty unions, five of which are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is a state federation of 58 local unions representing members who are active and retired public school teachers and staff, charter school teachers and staff, higher education faculty and staff, social workers, library workers, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality public education, intellectual freedom, and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education & public service professionals. OFT is affiliated with the 1.7 million member American Federation of Teachers.