Go Ahead and Organize

The American Association of University Professors, the 47,000-member organization of professors and other academics, is urging faculty to unionize in the fact of university budget cuts and increasing use of adjunct faculty.

According to a piece at Inside Higher Ed:

“Even powerful national trends can be reversed at the local levels,” Cary Nelson, AAUP president and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said Wednesday morning at the opening plenary address of the association’s annual meeting. “That’s the only silver lining that’s here…. It’s time to stand on your hind legs and fight.”

On a more general level, Nelson said, solidarity is the best means of combating the efforts that faculty see as so harmful — and of lessening the accompanying emotional impact. “Like it or not, fear is the primary emotion of faculty these days,” he said. “If you organize, it can help to conquer fear.”

Yes, fear. And also potentially poverty and crappy benefits.

Maybe. Unionized faculties at community colleges earn more than nonunionized professors. At 4-year colleges however, the compensation is about the same whether or not the staff is unionized.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer