for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions
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December 2020
Happy Holidays from the National Center
The National Center's December 2020 newsletter includes information about our recent research study about the growth in unionization at colleges and universities during the period 2013-2019. The newsletter also includes links to video excerpts from our 47th annual conference and links to recent decisions and filings related to collective bargaining in higher education.
Download the National Center's New Study on Higher Education Unionization Growth, 2013-2019
The National Center's new downloadable study, 2020 Supplementary Directory of New Bargaining Agents and Contracts in Institutions of Higher Education includes significant new findings and data for scholars and practitioners interested in collective bargaining in higher education.

The study was co-written by National Center Executive Director Bill Herbert, Jake Apkarian, Assistant Professor of Sociology, York College, CUNY, and Joey van der Naald, a PhD candidate in the program in sociology, CUNY Graduate Center.

It analyzes data regarding new bargaining units, bargaining agents, and contracts in higher education for the period 2013-2019 The study includes a listing of all new bargaining relationships concerning faculty, department chairs, librarians, postdoctoral scholars, academic researchers, and/or graduate student employees.

The study finds:

  • An increase of 118 new faculty bargaining units with a total of 36,264 newly represented faculty (20,160 at public sector institutions, 15,898 at private non-profit institutions, and 206 at for-profit institutions).

  • An 81.3% increase in bargaining units at private institutions and a 61.0% increase in represented faculty at those institutions, primarily among adjunct faculty. In comparison, there was an 8.8% growth in new public sector faculty units and a 5.8% growth in organized public sector faculty.

  • One new faculty bargaining unit created in 21 States and the District of Columbia with California (19), New York (17), Florida (13), and Massachusetts (11) having the largest number of new faculty collective bargaining relationships. The new faculty union at Duke University was the first at a private institution in a right-to-work state since 1992.

  • There are now over 14,000 organized postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers in bargaining units at six public sector institutions and six private non-profit institutions.

  • There have been 16 new graduate student employee bargaining units since 2012 with over 19,600 newly represented student employees. Eleven of the bargaining units are at private institutions with over 15,600 newly represented student employees, while in 2012 there were no organized units in the private sector. There are now 8 private universities with contracts applicable to graduate student employees.
Unlike prior directories, the 2020 Supplementary Directory includes a detailed unit composition description for each new unit as well as hyperlinks to the most recent contract for each new unit. This information is aimed at enhancing future research and avoiding confusion over unit composition, particularly when faculty units include other titles.
Save the Dates: National Center's Annual Conference on May 17-18, 2021
The National Center's 48th Annual Conference will be taking place virtually on May 17-18, 2021. In addition, we will be hosting a number of additional standalone webinars during the Spring semester.
National Center's 47th Annual Conference: A Major Virtual Success
The National Center's 47th annual conference was held virtually on October 19-20, 2020 with the assistance of the New York City Seminar and Conference Center.

The conference agenda was filled with panels and discussions on critical issues facing higher education and our country. Click here for the conference program and agenda.

We thank all of the conference speakers, panelists, and attendees for helping to make our first virtual conference a major success. Below are video excerpts from the conference.
We thank TIAA for sponsoring our 47th annual conference as well as AFT, SEIU, and The Standard Insurance Company for providing additional financial support.
Video Excerpts from the National Center's 47th Annual Conference

Keynote Address by Steven Greenhouse, the former New York Times labor and workplace correspondent and author of the book Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (2019).

Plenary: The Student Debt Crisis: History, Consequences, and Post-Pandemic Solutions with Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago, Caitlin Zaloom, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University, Jennifer Mishory, Senior Fellow and Senior Policy Advisor, Century Foundation, and Suzanne Kahn, Director, Education, Jobs, and Worker Power and the Great Democracy Initiative at the Roosevelt Institute.

Growth in Union Density Among Academic Labor, 2013-2019 with Jacob Apkarian, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Behavioral Sciences, York College, CUNY and National Center Affiliated Researcher, Joseph van der Naald, Graduate Student Researcher, Program in Sociology, Graduate Center, CUNY and National Center Affiliated Researcher, and William A. Herbert, Distinguished Lecturer and National Center Executive Director, Moderator and Presenter. Discussants: Gary Rhoades, Professor and Director, Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of Arizona, JCBA Co-editor and Adrianna Kezar, Endowed Professor and Dean's Professor of Leadership, USC, Director of the Pullias Center.

Conference Greetings by Christina R. Cutlip, Senior Managing Director, Institutional Relationships, TIAA. 

Negotiating for Part-Time Faculty Equity with Will Silvio, President, Berklee College of Music Faculty Union, Jay Kennedy, Berklee College of Music Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice Provost, Darryl Wood, NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist, Dia M.Carleton, Chief Human Resources Officer, SUNY Oneonta, and Beth Margolis, Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, LLP, Moderator.

Labor as Contingent as Free Speech? An Analysis of Recent Adjunct Faculty First Amendment Cases with Nora Devlin, Doctoral Candidate, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, Stacy Hawkins, Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School, Commentator, Martin Malin, Professor of Law and Co-Director, Institute for Law and the Workplace, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Commentator, and Christopher Simeone, AAUP, Moderator.

Contingent Faculty, Job Security, and Academic Freedom with Carl Levine, Levy Ratner P.C., Keila Tennant, Associate General Counsel and VP for Labor Relations, The New School, Sonam Singh, former Unit Chair, BCF-UAW Local 2110, and Barry Miller, Senior Policy Advisor on Labour Relations, Office of the Provost, York University, Moderator.

Collective Bargaining from All Sides: Unionism, the Faculty Senate, Contingent Faculty, and Academic Administration with Naomi R. Williams, Assistant Professor, Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University, Nelson Ouellet, Associate Professor, Université de Moncton, David Hamilton Golland, Professor, History, Governors State University, Jon E. Bekken, Professor, Communications, Albright College, and Theodore H. Curry, Professor of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Michigan State University, Moderator.

Higher Education Funding After the Pandemic with Fred Floss, Professor and Chair, Department of Economics and Finance, SUNY Buffalo State University and Fiscal Policy Institute, Senior Fellow, Thomas Anderson, Executive Director, Union of Part-Time Faculty, AFT Local 477, AFL-CIO, Thomas L. Harnisch, Vice President for Government Relations, and Sophia Laderman, Senior Policy Analyst, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).

Race and Labor In Historical and Contemporary Contexts with Bill Fletcher, Jr. author and activist, former president of TransAfrica Forum, and Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies. Discussants: Derryn Moten, Alabama State University, co-president of the Alabama State University Faculty-Staff Alliance and a vice president of the Alabama AFL-CIO and Sherri-Ann Butterfield, Executive Vice Chancellor and Associate Professor, Sociology, Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University—Newark. DeWayne Sheafter, National Council for Higher Education, National Education Association, Moderator.

Black Lives Matter on Campus and Beyond with Calvin Smiley, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Hunter College, CUNY, Paul Ortiz, University of Florida Chapter President, United Faculty of Florida NEA-AFT, Terri Givens, CEO and Founder, Center for Higher Education Leadership, Elijah Armstrong, Organizational Specialist in Human and Civil Rights, National Education Association, and Alethea Taylor, Doctoral Lecturer/Internship Site Developer, Hunter College - School of Education, Department of Educational Foundations and Counseling, Participant and Moderator.

Title IX Regulations: Bargaining Issues for Unions and Institutions with Rana Jaleel, Assistant Professor, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, University of California, Davis, Lance Houston, University EEO, Inc., Debra Osofsky, Negotiator, Educator and Contract Specialist, and Judi Burgess, Director of Labor Relations, Boston University, Moderator.

Affirmative Action in Higher Education, Post-Pandemic with Cara McClellan, Assistant Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Risa Lieberwitz, General Counsel, AAUP and Professor of Labor and Employment Law, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Victor Goode, Associate Professor, CUNY Law School, and Lili Palacios-Baldwin, Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment & Litigation, Tufts University, Moderator.

The Equal Rights Amendment and Higher Education with Julie Suk, Dean for Master’s Programs and Professor, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center, Elizabeth Schneider, Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Jessica Neuwirth, Distinguished Lecturer and Rita E. Hauser Director, Human Rights Program, Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, CUNY, and Wendi Lazar, Partner, Outten & Golden, Moderator.

The Old Wolf, Again: Latinx Faculty Negotiations, Recruitment, Retention, and Racism in the Academy with Theresa Montaño, California State University, Northridge, Chicana/o Studies, California Faculty Association, José Luis Morín, Chairperson, Department of Latin American and Latinx Studies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Michael Ortiz, Sul Ross University, and José Cintrón, Professor, College of Education, CSU Sacramento, California Faculty Association, Moderator.

Mass Incarceration and Higher Education with Patrick Mitchell, Board Member, Community College Association, CTA, NEA, Michelle Jones, Doctoral Student, New York University, Vivian Nixon, Columbia University Teaching Fellow, and Bidhan Chandra Roy, College of Arts and Letters, California State University, Los Angeles, Participant and Moderator.

Reasonable Accommodations for Faculty and Teaching Assistants with Jamie Daniel, Former National Field Service Representative, AAUP, Laura Yvonne Bulk, President, CUPE Local 2278 (Canadian Union of Public Employees), PhD Candidate, Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Barbara Aloni, Disability & Productivity Consultant, The Standard Insurance Company, John Rose, Dean for Diversity, Hunter College, CUNY, and Alexandra (Sascha) Matish, Associate Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs and Senior Director, Academic Human Resources, University of Michigan, Moderator.

Retirement Plan Trends in the COVID-19 Pandemic with Patricia McConnell, Levy, Ratner, PC, Gary Herzlich, Senior Director, Associate General Counsel, TIAA, Susan E. Bernstein, Schulte, Roth & Zabel LLP, and Christina Cutlip, Senior Managing Director, Institutional Relationships, TIAA, Moderator.

LGBTQ Labor Issues in Higher Education After Bostock v. Clayton County with Barbara J. Diamond, Diamond Law, Portland, Oregon, Mellissa Sortman, Director of Academic Human Resources, Michigan State University, Elizabeth S. Hough, Counsel to the President, United University Professions, and Elizabethe C. Payne, Founder and Director, Queering Education Research Institute (QuERI) and faculty at CUNY, Moderator.

Health and Safety Issues and COVID-19 with Deborah Berkowitz, Worker Safety and Health Program Director, National Employment Law Project, Amy Bahruth, Assistant Director for Health and Safety, AFT, Jeffrey Hescock, Executive Director Environmental Health and Safety, UMass Amherst, and Thomas H. Riley, Jr. Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations and Special Counsel for the University of Illinois System, Moderator.

Unemployment Insurance Policies and Practices: Adjunct Faculty, COVID-19, and Beyond with Michele Evermore, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, National Employment Law Project, George Wentworth, Of Counsel, National Employment Law Project, Arnab Datta, Senior Legislative Counsel, Employ America, and Francisco Diez, Worker Justice Policy Advocate, Center for Popular Democracy, Participant and Moderator.

LERA Higher Education Industry Council Panel: The Changing Place of Labor Studies in Higher Education with Marissa Brookes, University of California, Riverside, Tobias Schulze-Cleven, Rutgers University, Cedric de Leon, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Ruth Milkman, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, Moderator.
Research on COVID-19 and Collective Bargaining
Consistent with our research mission, the National Center is examining the use of collective bargaining in higher education during the COVID-19 crisis.

To assist with this research project, we request institutions of higher education and unions representing faculty, graduate assistants, and other campus workers to upload copies of any written agreements reached in response to the pandemic. Questions concerning this research inquiry can be emailed here.
St. Petersburg College: UFF Files to Represent Full-Time Faculty
Board of Trustees of St. Petersburg College

Last week, United Faculty of Florida (UFF) filed a new petition with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission seeking to represent a 330 employee bargaining unit at St. Petersburg College that includes "[a]ll full-time instructional personnel, including librarians and guidance counselors." An organizing drive in 2016 and 2017 by UFF to represent a slightly larger full-time bargaining unit was unsuccessful with faculty voting against representation.
Logan Comm. Coll.: Tenured Faculty Cannot be Replaced by Adjuncts
Barrall v. Board of Trustees of John A. Logan Community College,
Illinois Supreme Court Docket No. 125535

On December 17, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a decision finding that the John A. Logan Community College violated the recall rights and procedures under the Illinois Public Community College Act when it employed adjunct instructors to teach courses previously taught by laid off tenured faculty within the two year recall period.

The primary legal issue in the case concerned the construction and application of section 3B-5 of the Illinois law, which states, in part:

“For the period of 24 months from the beginning of the school year for which the faculty member was dismissed, any faculty member shall have the preferred right to reappointment to a position entailing services he is competent to render prior to the appointment of any new faculty member; provided that no non-tenure faculty member or other employee with less seniority shall be employed to render a service which a tenured faculty member is competent to render.” (emphasis added).

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the community college violated the second clause of the provision when it hired less senior adjunct instructors to teach courses that the laid off faculty were competent to teach.
CUNY: Termination of Tenured Professor for Just Cause Upheld
Caf Dowlah v. City University of New York, New York Appellate Division, First Department

On December 14, 2020, a New York State appellate court issued a decision denying an application to vacate an arbitrator's opinion and award, which found that the City University of New York had just cause to terminate a tenured associate professor of economics at Queensborough Community College for his misconduct.

After being denied a promotion to full professor, the professor sent a critical email to committee members accusing them of unscrupulous conduct that made him "feel like a piece of dirt" and ruined his career. He also stated "I damn you all to hell-may your bodies and souls burn in eternal fires."

Following a hearing, the arbitrator concluded that CUNY had demonstrated just cause to terminate the professor based on his conduct that was unbecoming of a staff member. Previously, the professor had received written counseling memoranda about his disrespectful comments toward coworkers and had been disciplined with a letter of reprimand.
Nassau Comm. Coll.: Dismissal of Adjunct's Wage Lawsuit Affirmed
Jaikrishen K. Lal v. Nassau County, New York Appellate Term, Second Department,

The dismissal of a small claims action pursued by an adjunct professor at Nassau Community College (NCC) for $4,662.03 in unpaid wages was affirmed in a December 10, 2020 decision issued by a New York state appellate court. The court affirmed the dismissal on the grounds that the professor failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by pursuing his claim as a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement applicable to NCC adjunct faculty.
American University: Radio Employees Unionize with SAG-AFTRA
University of Washington : SEIU Petitions to Represent Library Staff
Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy , Volume 11
Below are links to articles that appear in Volume 11 of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, our peer review multi-disciplinary journal co-edited by Jeffrey Cross, Eastern Illinois University (Emeritus), and Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona.



Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, Laurel Smith-Doerr, Henry Renski, and Laras Sekarasih,

Practitioner Perspectives

We encourage scholars and practitioners in the fields of collective bargaining, labor relations, and labor history to submit articles for potential publication in future volumes of the Journal.

The Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy is supported, in part, by a generous contribution from TIAA and is hosted by the institutional repository of Eastern Illinois University.
National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining
in Higher Education and the Professions
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