By Contributor on April 02, 2011

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

An obscure clause that was slipped into Ohio's infamous anti-union Senate Bill 5 may spell the end of collective bargaining for the state's public college teachers.

SB-5 was passed in the face of bitter controversy and mass public demonstrations at the state capitol in Columbus. It was signed into law Thursday, March 31, by Ohio's new extreme right-wing Governor John Kasich.

But little attention has been paid to the following clause on page 272, which reads:

"With respect to members of a faculty of a state institution of higher education, any faculty who, individually or through a faculty senate or like organization, participate in the governance of the institution, are involved in personnel decisions, selection or review of administrators, planning and use of physical resources, budget preparation, and determination of educational policies related to admissions, curriculum, subject matter, and methods of instruction and research are management level employees."

The obvious intent of this language is to bar public college faculty members from belonging to a union or participating in collective bargaining. By definition, "management level employees" are not allowed to unionize or strike.

But all faculty members participate in drawing up curricula. They also, as a matter of course, help choose fellow teachers and administrators, help govern their schools and the like.

So the practical intent of this language is to bar Ohio's public college teachers from unionizing at all by renaming their role.

As Darrell Minor puts it: "We are now management as soon as this law takes effect and we have no right to collect bargaining." Minor is a mathematics professor at Columbus State Community College. He heads the Columbus State Educational Association, the faculty union, at a school whose enrollment now numbers around 31,000.

The faculty's new status as "management" may also call into question the legal standing of tenure.

SB-5 is slated to become official law within 90 days. Legal challenges are already in the works. The nullification process by referendum has also begun.

But along the way, the state's college teachers may find themselves without tenure or a union.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection via www.freepress.org, where the FITRAKIS FILES are stored. HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is at www.harveywasserman.com. Bob is a Professor of Political Science at Columbus State Community College, where Harvey is an adjunct instructor of history.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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