Higher Ed Membership on Rise

A better understanding of how the budget process works may be the need of the moment, especially at a time when collective bargaining at universities seem to be rising. According to a survey released this week by the collective bargaining center, organized faculty in the United States has grown by about 50,000, a 14 percent increase since 2006 when the survey was last published.

According to the survey the growth can be attributed to three factors: growth within bargaining units, new bargaining units and possible miscounts in 2006.  "The majority of the increased number of organized faculty is in the growth of pre-2006 units with roughly 29,000 new members; for new units formed after 2006 and for units that were missed in the 2006 count approximately 20,900 members compose these categories," the survey said.

The survey found that 368,473 faculty members currently represented in a recognized collective bargaining unit. “These faculty members are heavily concentrated in public institutions; less than 7 percent percent are employed by private colleges or universities,” the report said. Among graduate student employees, about 64,400 students were part of bargaining units, all of them at public institutions.

One reason for the growth, in part, could be an unintended consequence of challenges against collective bargaining in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio, said Richard Boris, director of the collective bargaining center.

“Of the unionized workforce in the country, this might be one of the only areas where we are seeing strong growth,” he said.

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