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Union campaign at University of Akron continues

By admin Published: February 19, 2012

The Communications Workers of America union says it is making progress organizing up to 600 clerical and staff members at the University of Akron.


Local President Todd Leyda said organizers have collected “a good number” of signed authorization cards from staffers who seek to bring the unionization to a vote.


“We’re in card-collection mode,” he said last week. “The CWA model is to have a higher number [of cards signed] that is needed legally. I’m optimistic.”


The union began a campaign last fall to organize unrepresented clerical and other staff members at the university. The union already represents 260 UA employees in skilled trades and crafts.


The campaign has prompted the university to include a “Know the Facts” feature in its biweekly Edigest internal newsletter.


Last week, UA officials pointed out that the CWA was referring potential members to an expired Youngstown State CWA contract at the State Employment Relations Board.


Leyda said the union corrected the misleading information with a link to YSU’s current CWA contract, which includes fewer bells and whistles than the previous agreement.


Becky Hoover, UA vice president for training development and human resources, said it was in “everyone’s best interest to have accurate information available.”


An expanded CWA would be the largest union at the university. The secretaries, library assistants and others in similar roles are the only full-time employees at the university, except for management, who are not unionized.


“We feel strongly that staff needs a voice in their workplace,” said Ann Evans, a library administrative assistant who is on the CWA organizing committee. “We are only asking for the same working conditions as most others on campus.”


The CWA needs signed authorization cards from at least 30 percent of its potential new members to bring the issue of unionization to a vote. Leyda declined to indicate when the campaign might wrap up, but could take six months or longer.


Other unions at UA are the American Association of University Professors for full-time faculty, the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees.


Carol Biliczky can be reached at 330-996-3739 or cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com.

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