OAH in the Red in 2005

Breaking News

The cost of last year's switch to San Jose was steep for the Organization of American Historians--steeper than officials originally anticipated.

The OAH ended the fiscal year of 2005 nearly half a million dollars in the red. At the OAH Business Meeting last April officials said they expected to be down just $100,000 or so.

Most of the loss was due to the decision to move the annual meeting from San Francisco to San Jose so members wouldn't have to cross a picket line. The Hilton and the Doubletree in San Francisco demanded to be paid for the rooms that had been booked by the OAH. The hotels and the OAH settled in November. The terms of the deal are secret. But it is evident from the red ink in the treasurer's report that the OAH paid dearly for its decision to respect the hotel workers' picket line.

The OAH took in $2,818,037 in fiscal year 2005. It paid out $3,289,888. Revenue for the organization remained nearly about the same for the past two years, a chart shows. But the endowment for the organization was down nearly $260,000. The OAH last year switched its investments to Indiana University Foundation"where we anticipate a better rate of return in the future," the report states.

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Alonzo Hamby - 3/3/2006

It was all to be expected. The OAH needs to make up its collective mind whether it wants to be an unsubdized affiliate of UNITE, or an organization that promotes the study of history. It can't go on as both.

I write as a person who has no objection to hotel employees (or workers of any kind) joining a union. Unfortunately, the San Francisco hotel employees don't seem to feel an interest in doing so. It is their choice, not that of a scholarly organization, however well-meaning its actions.