Don’t Get Fooled Again

I think this may well be the most amazing sentence I have read all year: “At most private colleges, as well as at public colleges where faculty members have chosen not to form unions or have been precluded from doing so by state law, many faculty members work without union contracts without feeling particularly exploited.” It”s by Peter Schmidt, in a piece appropriately titled, “What Good do Faculty Unions Do“?

Schmidt’ focus on pay risks reinforcing the myth that public employees unions are greedy and over-privileged. Most universities– like most corporations– don’t have unions, and if they do, they fight them at every turn. Exploitation has become routine in too many schools. I have a better question: what would universities be like without union influence? Would tenure even exist anymore?

The current picture isn’t pretty. Many if not most faculty are either non-tenure track or part-time adjuncts. (Here’s a piece on the subject from a few years ago.) Administrations line their pockets and have no interest in economic justice within their own walls. We could all be better organized, but it’s hardly the unions’ fault that the overall trend in the economy is towards lower pay and less power.

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]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation