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Faculty Forum Papers


"COLLECTIVE BARGAINING - RESEARCH ASSISTANTS"



by

Fred Hisaw
Department of Zoology


March 2, 1983



Research assistants were excluded from submitting Faculty Forum papers, therefore I am presenting the following on behalf of the Research Assistants' Committee:

The Research Assistants' Committee feels it necessary to respond to Drs. Matthews and Morris who have objected to the inclusion of research assistants in the collective bargaining unit. We wish to respond to inaccuracies and assumptions made in their arguments, not to promote or object to collective bargaining. This is necessary because their ideas are based on limited personal experience which fosters incorrect opinions of the role of research assistants.

Underlying their arguments is the feeling that professors are different from research assistants and being together in such a group is objectionable. We agree with that feeling to some extent; we are not professors and as important as our duties may be, they are generally different from the demands made on professors. We are not trying to be similar, however research assistants have much in common with research associates and instructors and these similarities are being overlooked.

The University has three main purposes; teaching, research and public service. The research assistant performs the task of research in a way similar to the research associate and some research professorial faculty. Many research assistants also teach - not by lecturing to formal classes, but by training graduate students, thereby giving them skills and insight into the accomplishments of research. Although the research assistants do not have doctoral degrees, neither do instructors, extension agents (with professorial rank) and others (librarians, administrators and computer center personnel.) We have more similarities than differences with other members of the faculty. Our position is rightfully an academic one, as it is for 600 other fixed term faculty members.

Research assistants are faculty and as such have a stake in the University. We are committed to our jobs and are governed by faculty rules. We are not asking to be considered equivalent in status to professors, but as the Employment Relations Board has noted, we have a community of interest and we perform duties similar to other non-instructional faculty. We deserve recognition for the value of our services; that research service is of growing importance to the University.

The University is in transition and some old ideas will have to give way as roles change. We cannot do this by ourselves; we need the help of all faculty. In that regard, we have no objections whatsoever to department heads being included in the collective bargaining unit. We should all be working together by focusing on our common goals and interest.

Fred Hisaw
Department of Zoology
March 2, 1983
Opinions expressed by authors of Faculty Forum articles are not necessarily those of the OSU Faculty or Faculty Senate.