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April 17, 2004

Union Busting Universities

Universities are dominated by liberals, you may have heard.

So how come they are some of the worst union busters in the world?

Columbia University, despite a majority of grad student teachers demanding a union. still refuses to recognize the union:

"Our view is that we have nothing to negotiate about," said Alan Brinkley, Columbia's provost. "The university's position is that we believe that graduate students should not be and are not eligible to be members of a union under the protection of the National Labor Relations Act."
And Columbia makes the argument despite the fact that New York University was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to negotiate with their grad student employees.

But Columbia is hardly alone. Yale has resisted unionization. When I was a grad student at Berkeley, the California Regents resisted unionization for a decade.

And Bob Kerrey-- currently of 911 Commission fame-- has been fighting part-time faculty unionizing tooth-and-nail. A majority of the adjunct faculty voted to unionize, but Kerrey refuses to recognize their vote:

Such elections are normally binding on employers, but corporate lawyers are increasingly contesting them in a bid to block unionization..."The New School is launching the kind of anti-union campaign you'd see in any other corporation," said Julie Kushner, a director of UAW's Region 9A.
Both Columbia and New School (and most other university organizing campaigns) are just microsms of the general problem workers face today.

Every attempt to unionize is met by corporate lawyers who delay and delay the vote, then when the union wins the vote, they delay and delay. And even winning the vote means delay and delay to getting the first contract.

And given years before the beginning of organizing becomes a union contract, the employer can quietly fire troublemaking workers, and often derail the whole organizing drive as other workers fear joining their fired co-workers fate.

But don't let it be said our universities don't teach anything. They are teaching a generation of students the realities of union-busting in the new economy

Posted by Nathan at April 17, 2004 07:12 AM