William Herbert: A Primer on Unionization and Collective Bargaining in U.S. Higher Education Institutions

This primer on collective bargaining in higher education traces historical developments of unionization in public and private institutions as well as among tenure track, non-tenure-track faulty and graduate students. In the last five years, unionization activity has increased over 25% in the private sector, mostly in adjunct faculty units. While institutions can participate in voluntary collective bargaining activities, agreements in a formal collective bargaining context include clear rules applicable to the entire bargaining unit and enforcement mechanisms. The emergence of micro bargaining units (department level activity), and specifics of the unionization process are discussed. Specific unions that work with higher education institutions are named. Mandatory subjects in the collective bargaining process include salary, hours, healthcare, pension, professional development grievance, antidiscrimination, academic freedom, tenure, use of facilities, appointment and reappointment details, leaves, holidays, evaluations, personnel files, disciplinary actions, research and fellowship monies. Institutions may resist unionization due to flexibility limitations, institutional concept of shared governance and fiscal implications that may result from compensation negotiations. It is likely that unionization will continue to increase for non-tenure track faculty in the private sector. Regularity of access to faculty by students may be aided by collective bargaining.

Individual Questions:
Collective Bargaining defined (:48)
An analysis of historical trends in unionization and collective bargaining U.S. higher education institutions (3:37)
The impact of new collective bargaining rights and regulations on the culture and shared governance of IHE’s (4:40)
The evolution of collective bargaining activity among adjunct (contingent) faculty and graduate students (4:42)
The relative rights of tenure track and non-tenure track faculty under the National Labor Relations Act (4:05)
Differences between public and private institutions in collective bargaining and the composition of bargaining units (2:29)
A description of the process of unionization at IHE’s and the emergence of micro bargaining units (5:06)
Unions most often selected for collective bargaining by IHE’s (1:31)
Mandatory and permissive subjects of collective bargaining (1:04)
Reasons colleges and universities might resist unionization (3:11)
What the future holds for unionization in higher education (1:49)
The impact of unionization on institutions, students and the public (4:27)
Ways to contact the Center and access The Winds of Changes Shift: An Analysis of Recent Growth in Bargaining Units and Representation Efforts in Higher Education by William Herbert (:53)

Podcast Intro and Exit music by Won (FLT RSK) / CC BY-NC 3.0 Produced in conjunction with the Average Guy Podcast Network

3 Replies to “William Herbert: A Primer on Unionization and Collective Bargaining in U.S. Higher Education Institutions”

  1. I WOULD Like instruction on HOW to engage further.
    … and how to Share my experienceS in organiZing And negotiating for faculty with NEA, AFT AAUP
    Martin Morand
    212 866 2120

    • Martin Morand on March 30, 2017 at 9:06 pm said:
      I WOULD Like instruction on HOW to engage further.
      … and how to Share my experienceS in organiZing And negotiating for faculty with NEA, AFT AAUP
      Martin Morand
      212 866 2120

  2. Thanks to our listeners who posted comments on the collective bargaining podcast primer. Some of your comments centered on costs and benefits (fiscal and otherwise), a topic that the podcast did not cover in detail. We encourage listeners to continue the conversation online. Bill Herbert will likely post additional information, as the discussion progresses. So stay tuned! Kathryn Dodge

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