University Faculty Unions

Whatever one might say about the entrepreneurial and equalizing merits of unions writ large, you can’t say it about the unions of University Faculty members.  The evidence on the effect of unionization of faculty life suggests that it increases militancy, has a minor effect on wages, makes for more process, but does not have a net positive effect on job satisfaction.  And, given that faculty salary often trades with students’ resources debt, the distributive arguments for faculty unionization are particularly tough to make.  I appreciate that I’m happy at my institution, so  I’m particularly ill-positioned to attack unions, which help dis-empowered and unhappy workers.  Also, Temple Law School has a faculty union – separate from the university! –  that has few of the normal impositions (dues, etc.)  But still, aren’t faculty unions a luxury we can live without?

If I were a tough minded Democratic governor looking to show that I can demagogue against unions as much as my republican colleagues, but I wanted to pick a target that was particularly ripe for the picking, I know where I’d start.

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6 Responses

  1. Matt Bodie says:

    Most private law faculties cannot join NLRA-certified unions, since they are considered managerial employees (NLRB v. Yeshiva University, 444 U.S. 672 (1980)). So the law-prof unions are more along the lines of voluntary associations that may consult on workplace issues but do not have collective-bargaining rights.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    But Matt, Temple isn’t a private law school.

  3. Matt Bodie says:

    Your post seemed to apply beyond Temple. I’d be curious to know what collective bargaining rights the Temple Law faculty union has, especially if it’s not collecting dues.

  4. Miriam Cherry says:

    How does this post interact with your post just below it?

  5. dave hoffman says:

    Matt: Good question. I guess my post signals my view that being a member of a faculty union isn’t my idea of a good time. But I haven’t investigated.

    Miriam: I hadn’t thought the two posts were linked, except that they were both born out of some work I’ve done on Temple’s accreditation self-study. Do you see a connection?

  6. Miriam Cherry says:

    I didn’t know if the union had some take/view on the items listed below; or if the items listed below would provide (in your mind) a reason to justify unionization.