Collective Bargaining in Academia –
Analyzing the “Upswing”
Kathi S. Westcott, Associate Counsel
Past, Present and Future!
 History of Collective Bargaining in Higher
 Potential Federal and State Law Changes
 State Legislation
 Faculty Organizing
 Campaigns
 Collective Bargaining Agreements
 Contingent Faculty
 Graduate Students
 Primer on Management Conduct and Recent
History of Collective Bargaining in
Higher Education
 Private sector = federal legal protection
 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
 1935 NLRA granted legal recognition of and
protections to private sector collective
 1970 the National Labor Relations Board ruled
that private colleges and universities were
subject to the NLRA.
 NLRB v. Yeshiva University (1980)
 University of San Francisco (1982)
 Brown University (2004)
History of Collective Bargaining in
Higher Education
 Public sector = state legal protection.
 Over ½ of states have laws enabling faculty
to engage in collective bargaining.
 More than 90% of faculty in collective
bargaining units work at public institutions.
 Over 60,000 graduate students are
represented by labor unions at 26
institutions – all but one are public.
AAUP Policy
 In 1973 the AAUP issued its first statement on
collective bargaining
 Revised in 1993 and states: “[T]he Association
promotes collective bargaining to reinforce the best
features of higher education.”
 1973 Report on Arbitration of Faculty
 1988 Statement on Academic Government for
Institutions Engaged in Collective Bargaining
 1991 statement on Dismissal Proceedings in a
Collective Bargaining Setting Where Arbitration
Substitutes for a Faculty Hearing
Status of Federal and State Laws
 Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) &
Other Amending Proposals
 EFCA Basics
 Graduate Students
 State Legislation
 Wisconsin – lone positive
 “Anti-EFCA” efforts
 Transparency or “Open Government”
Faculty Organizing - Campaigns
 Economics, Furloughs and Salary Cuts
 Not just about the money!
 Bowling Green State University – serious
concerns over changes in the role of
faculty in governance.
 University of Illinois at Chicago – serious
concerns over crumbling infrastructure
and movement away from serving
traditional student base.
Faculty Organizing - Campaigns
 Not just about the money!
 Sinclair Community College – faculty
salaries are not an issue (recent 6% raise),
serious concerns of push towards nontenured and part-time appointments as well
as demands of secrecy in connection with
faculty committee appointments.
 LSU – contemplating organizing because of
concerns about academic freedom and lack
of an independent faculty voice.
Faculty Organizing – Collective
Bargaining Agreements
 More than just the money!
 Oakland University – strike about
university proposal to drastically increase
term appointments and concerns about
undermining faculty due process
 University of Delaware – new contract
provisions focused on strengthening and
solidifying academic freedom
Faculty Organizing – Collective
Bargaining Agreements
 More than just the money!
 University of Florida – new contract
provisions established new procedures
for tenure and promotion process and
returns much of the operational
authority and control back to
departments and colleges.
Contingent Faculty Organizing
 Organizing Campaigns
 2009 – new bargaining units in Massachusetts,
Michigan and Montana.
 2010 – new bargaining units in Michigan,
reinvigorated campaigns in Illinois and
 Collective Bargaining Agreements
 Rhode Island – pay raise, seniority and job
 New School – expanded leave rights and
curricular decision making authority.
Graduate Students Organizing
 Organizing Campaigns – Private
 New York University
 University of Chicago
 Organizing Campaigns – Public
 University of California
 Ohio State University
Management Conduct (Permissible
and Impermissible)
 Permissible Conduct
 Respond to questions.
 Provide fact and opinion w/out threat or promise
of benefit.
 Conduct informational meetings (no captive
 Impermissible Conduct
 Threaten, coerce or intimidate.
 Discriminate or retaliate.
 Question employees about intent or solicit
employees views.
Guidance Based on AAUP Policy
 Bargain in good faith without
retaliating for collective action.
 Recognize faculty as a professional
body with the responsibility
procedurally for judging their peers.
 Support a due process structure that
values academic freedom and shared
Recent Collective Bargaining
 Fashion Institute of Technology –
unilateral action by administration
found to be illegal.
 Fort Hays State University – unilateral
action by administration, even before
first contract, found to be illegal.
Closing Thoughts
 Contingent and Full-time
 University of Northern Iowa.
 For-Profit Schools
 Art Institute of Seattle?
 Kaplan University?
 Focus on non-monetary issues during
tough economic times!
Legal Issues in Higher Education
 Kathi S. Westcott
 Email:
[email protected]
 Phone: 202-737-5900