|This day after Labor Day, in addition to celebrating and appreciating all workers, we celebrate the just-finalized historic alliance between the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers. Now, together, we represent more higher education workers than any other union. Our game-changing partnership brings together AAUP’s academic expertise and AFT’s power and reach, and creates a movement with the strength of hundreds of thousands of higher education workers. Together, we will be stronger in our work to dismantle systemic racism and fight white supremacy; we vow to bring a racial equity lens to all aspects of all of our work. Together, we will be more effective at beating back outrageous legislative intrusions into the academy—intrusions that obliterate the academic freedom needed for effective teaching, research and free inquiry. Together, we will be united in our efforts to ensure that higher education plays its essential role as a public good in a democracy.|
Because our affiliation builds on our successful joint organizing work, we anticipate bringing even more academic workers into our movement, and we anticipate being able to disseminate AAUP’s essential work on academic freedom and shared governance more broadly throughout the higher education community. We will be working together to organize a more powerful academic labor movement around our principles on campuses, in statehouses, and in Congress.
This has been one of the most invigorating summers of our careers, beginning in June when delegates voted overwhelmingly to ratify the affiliation agreement at the June 2022 Biennial Association Meeting, and continuing into July with the signing of the agreement at the AFT convention to thunderous applause and digital fireworks. Now, as we start the new academic year, we get to work as partners protecting higher education, demanding that higher ed lives up to its promise for everyone. We’ll be fighting with you and for you. It’s an exciting time and we have never been stronger.
Irene Mulvey, AAUP President
Randi Weingarten, AFT President
With support from a strong majority of Miami University faculty, on Friday the Faculty Alliance of Miami (FAM) filed a petition for certification at the Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB) to form a union with the AAUP. Ohio statute allows the Miami administration to avoid a drawn-out and costly election by voluntarily recognizing the union.
This is a significant moment for faculty at Miami and for collective bargaining in Ohio. The Miami University union drive builds on a national wave of higher education organizing in recent years. Miami would join the ten out of fourteen other four-year Ohio public universities with collective bargaining agreements and would be the largest bargaining unit to file since Bowling Green State University in 2010.
FAM has built a strong organization rooted in member activism and centered on strengthening the role of faculty at their institution. “Through FAM, teaching and learning will be reinvigorated at Miami University,” says Theresa Kulbaga, professor of English and a lead FAM organizer. “Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. When faculty are valued and supported, the quality of our programs and our teaching are strengthened.”
The move was prompted by long-standing issues with working conditions, shared governance, compensation, and academic freedom.
“Miami’s faculty and administration can work together to support high quality teaching and learning,” notes Todd Edwards, FAM press secretary. “As institutions of higher education face unprecedented challenges, faculty have an important role to play in the search for solutions. A stronger voice for faculty means a stronger Miami.”
Congratulations to everyone who worked on the campaign!
In September 2021, we announced that the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers were exploring ways to expand and enhance our very successful ten-plus-year organizing partnership.
We are incredibly proud of the work that AAUP and AFT have done together to organize faculty and graduate employees around the US and to strengthen higher education and the profession. As a result of our partnership, more than twenty thousand faculty and other academic workers are in unions that are jointly represented by the AAUP and the AFT. In addition, we have worked together on important legislative efforts at the federal and state level to expand access to higher education, ensure adequate funding for public institutions, increase Pell grants, and expand academic workers’ right to unionize. AAUP members are already being included in planned student loan debt clinics run by AFT higher ed staff, and AFT members have had the opportunity to attend our Summer Institutes. Since last fall, we’ve been discussing how to best build on our successful organizing work, support our shared commitment to education and the common good, and build a stronger and more inclusive higher education movement.
We don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that democracy is hanging on by a thread right now, and a strong higher education movement is part of what’s needed to salvage and strengthen our democracy. In the few months since we started exploring possibilities for affiliation, the attacks on higher education and the common good have increased. Educational gag order legislation aimed at curtailing academic freedom has been introduced in thirty-eight states. We see administrations acquiescing to pressure from governing boards and state legislatures on fundamental issues such as academic freedom, faculty shared governance, and due process. We see state systems launching full assaults on tenure.
At the same time, we see a renewed interest in organizing to confront these challenges among faculty and other academic workers. On campuses where unionization is possible, we see faculty forming organizing committees and starting union campaigns. We also see a renewed interest in building and strengthening advocacy chapters as a vehicle for campus change. The ongoing challenges facing higher education and this renewed interest in organizing underscore the need for solidarity—with our colleagues and within our own organization, to be sure, but also with other organizations and with the academic labor movement as a whole. This affiliation will help all of us—AAUP and AFT Higher Education members together—achieve this.
Irene Mulvey, President
Paul Davis, Vice President
Chris Sinclair, Secretary-Treasurer
The AAUP denounces in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). This decision marks a continuation of the anti-immigrant racist policies that the administration has supported from the start.
Many of our members come from families that immigrated to the US. Their forebears came to the US for the same reason that today’s immigrants do, for a better life for their families, especially their children. But the Trump administration, feeding off the fears and insecurity of many Americans, has used the issue of undocumented workers, along with racism and anti-Semitism, to divide people and disguise the real causes of the declining standards of working people, including working people of color.
DACA, which provides renewable two-year work permits for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, was created by President Obama after the Republican-led House of Representatives refused to act on immigration. About 1.9 million undocumented young people are eligible to apply for the DACA program. Nearly 800,000 had their request for DACA status granted in 2016. Of those who have DACA status, about 576,000 are enrolled in college. In other words, an overwhelming majority of those granted DACA status are our students.
One of the major factors that makes American higher education a world class system is the diversity of our faculty and students. We owe it to these students and their families, as well as to other undocumented young people, to speak out against this action in the strongest manner possible. We call on our members to urge Congress to act immediately to undo President Trump’s action and allow these young people to remain in our classrooms.
We also urge Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform policy that will welcome immigrants to our shores–those fleeing political persecution and violence as well as those who simply seek a better life, regardless of their race, religion, or national origin.
As we head into the fall term, I’m writing to make sure you know about resources that are available to you as an AAUP member. (Many require your website login. Forgot your password?)
Each semester, we offer webinars about topics of interest to faculty, ranging from the nuts and bolts of what should be in a faculty handbook to threats to academic freedom in the Trump era. You can watch recordings of past webinars here. Our first webinar of the fall semester will focus on digital organizing/issue organizing, and we’ll send you an e-mail when the date is set.
In response to political events in the past year, we have developed FAQs on the following topics:
We also offer informational resources on a variety of topics of interest to faculty and other academic professionals:
- The Family and Medical Leave Act
- Navigating Faculty Appointments
- Pregnancy in the Academy
- Faculty Handbooks as Enforceable Contracts
- Unemployment Compensation for Faculty in Contingent Appointments
Members receive a subscription to Academe Magazine; this will be delivered to you electronically or you can opt in to the print edition.
We also offer insurance programs, described here.
AAUP External Relations Director