Non-Faculty Unionization at Institutions of Higher Education
Hurd, Richard W.
[Excerpt] The decade of the 1980's was a difficult one for the labor movement as membership and bargaining power declined for most unions in most industries. Higher education, however, provided a much more congenial environment. Faculty unionization expanded slowly but steadily at public sector institutions, although these gains were partially offset by private sector membership losses in the wake of the Yeshiva decision. In addition, there was a flurry of organizing activity among non-faculty employees, particularly clerical workers. The clerical worker organizing of the 1980's resulted in many highly visible successes for the labor movement. Particularly noteworthy were NLRB election victories at Yale in 1984 by the FUE/Hotel Employees, at Columbia in 1985 by the UAW, and at Harvard in 1988 by the HUETW/AFSCME. Large units were also organized in the public sector, including the California State University System in 1982 by the SEIU, the University of Iowa in 1984 by AFSCME, and several Ohio campuses including Toledo in 1986 by the CWA and Cincinnati in 1988 by the SEIU. The importance of clerical unions in higher education was further demonstrated by a number of widely publicized work stoppages, including first contract strikes at Yale and Columbia and three major strikes in 1988 at New York University by an AFT local, at Wayne State by the UAW, and at Michigan State by an independent clerical union. The National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions has monitored this clerical worker union activity with great interest, publishing the results of a survey of the nation's largest universities in 1987 and offering a panel discussion of the subject as a key part of the 1989 annual conference. In the spring of 1989, they resolved to assemble a directory of clerical and support staff contracts and bargaining agents. Although the original intent was to focus on clerical workers, a question was added to the survey on other unionized non-faculty units including professional/technical and blue collar. This Directory summarizes the information compiled to January 1, 1990.
unions; labor movement; organizing; higher education; clerical staff
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