Faculty Forum Papers
"October 1977 - Problems of Collective Bargaining"
Fred W. Decker
October 28, 1977
Shall tenured faculty members, already threatened (because of tenure) with
exclusion from the benefits of the new national law banning forced retirement
for age before 70, now also suffer loss of the benefits of tenure if they fail
to pay union dues or the equivalent?
That question has arisen elsewhere, notably at Ferris State College in
Michigan, as observed by Dr. Russell Kirk in his lectures and articles.
Academic freedom may have only academic value if the university gets forced
into dismissing faculty members who refuse to pay union dues or "fees".
The strike threat might prove counter-productive when undertaken by faculty
unions. Prof. Bengt Lofstedt of UCLA observes that in many disciplines the
strike threat might simply prompt elimination of programs which are tolerated
at best as frills by some unsympathetic tax-paying supporters.
Leading faculty members around the country like Prof. John Fawcett of the
University of Mississippi have asserted in the context of academic freedom
that professors must be granted a basic right to work.
At the University of Bridgeport many faculty members reacted in
they learned that their own national professors' organization had obtained an
"agency fee" clause in the collective bargaining contract. Those traditionalists
felt they did not want to compel their colleagues to pay, for they considered this
an invasion of free choice and academic freedom.
Prof. Vernon Jones of Clark University considers the amount of
time on union
matters and the amount of money collected from faculty union members "alarming",
especially in the case of public school teachers. He proposes a blue-ribbon
research panel which would in effect perform calculated arbitration in advance
of any dispute so that objective criteria would lead to a theoretically determined
pay rate for each type of faculty position. His system, designed for public school
faculties, would perhaps even more readily serve the needs of faculty people in higher
Faculty members at OSU preparing to vote during 7-8 Dec. 1977 on
and on a choice of bargaining agent may want to know in detail the potential commitments
they might thereby make, as well as the alternatives open to them. For this reason an
assembly of recent issues of the UPAO monthly Universitas in which the authors named
above and others take up various aspects of faculty unions in higher education will
await the perusal of colleagues at OSU in the Reserve Book Room of the Library. Just
ask for the "Universitas Counter File."
Let it not be said later that we did not fully consider what we
had voted ourselves into.