The Union Difference

Part-time faculty members at Montgomery College, in Maryland, have voted overwhelmingly in favor of union representation by the Service Employees International Union Local 500.

The 365-to-105 vote was a first for part-time instructors in the state, the union said in a news release. About 1,000 adjuncts teach about half of all courses offered at Montgomery College, the union said.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, News Blog, June 5, 2008

If you do a search on the web about labor unions and why people want them you find that the majority of the results, at least on the first page or two, are anti-union propaganda sites. That says a lot about the threat unions represent to the current order. We are hardly organized at all, particularly in the private sector, yet it seems too much for some.

Yet now and again you see a story like the one about the faculty at Montgomery College and you remember that the traditional logic is as powerful as ever. The AFL-CIO has the basic facts, which can be verified in any number of ways: among other things, unions raise salaries, improve health care benefits, and improve productivity.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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