After many years of retrenchment driven by anti-union legislation (e.g. “Right-to-work” laws) and judicial decisions (Janus vs. AFSCME (2018)), recent years have seen an heartening uptick in union activity spearheaded by K-12 teachers and their unions: the 2018 Red State Revolt across many right-to-work states followed by the long but effective Chicago Public Schools strikes in 2019 and the short and effective Los Angeles United School District strikes in 2023. With SAG-AFTRA, WGA, and now UAW strikes, Summer 2023 was dubbed “Hot Union Summer.”
The latest issue of Academe, AAUP’s magazine which you receive when you become a dues-paying member, includes some summer contract wins at private higher educational institutions in New York, Adelphi, St. John’s and Utica universities, ranging from 3-4% pay increases over 5 years at Adelphi to a new contract at Utica (delayed by management over 200 days) that will repay employees for cuts instituted during the pandemic. Although these private institutions formed bargaining units before the NLRB’s 1980 Yeshiva Ruling put a damper on faculty unionization at private colleges and universities, their recent wins inspire us at AAUP Bucknell with the power of collective action. For more, check out the latest issue of Academe.