New Issue of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, Part 1

The most recent issue of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy is available at

The issue includes two op-eds and four articles. Here are excerpts from each of the op-eds and the first of the articles:

Boris, Richard (2014) “From Ivory to Babel to A New Foundation,” Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy: Vol. 6, Article 1. Available at:

“During my 12 years at the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, I observed with increasing frustration the inability of administration and faculty leaders—union and governance—to fully grasp, analyze, and find pathways out of public higher education’s current existential crisis. Before becoming director at the National Center, I was local union chapter head at York College and then First Vice President at the central CUNY union. At that time, there were local issues such as grievances and, in my case, profound disagreements with a new college president: central issues such as Open Admissions and its aftermath in a politically sophisticated counterattack on this policy. There were also perennial issues such as protracted contract negotiations that were significant and arduous. All these “issues” were “normal” in the sense that the conflicts did not engender external political responses that questioned New York City’s system of public colleges, community colleges, or the graduate and professional schools. Conversations in my role as National Center executive director with national and local administration and union leaders about pre-crisis challenges told similar stories about hard bargaining, flare-ups, and difficult controversies within a general context of growth in resources and student numbers.”

Rosa, José Antonio PhD (2014) “Collective Bargaining in Higher Education: Observations from an ACE Fellow,” Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy: Vol. 6, Article 2. Available at:

“The tensions identified by the Carnegie Foundation have been present in the academy since masters and students in Paris, Oxford, and other centers of knowledge battled for autonomy with municipal officials in the thirteenth century (Leff, 1968). We will revisit the relevance of these enduring tensions to collective bargaining in the academy later in this essay, but it seemed appropriate to mention them now because they help explain the American Council of Education (ACE) Fellows program and my involvement. Academic administration is messy, a notion recently affirmed by Asghar (2013). It is messy primarily because of these tensions. The academy exists at the intersection of conflicting social missions. In order for academicians to do their best, administrators and faculty leaders have to manage an inherently unstable social ecosystem. The ACE Fellows program, one of the oldest and most recognized academic leadership training programs in the U.S., uses an apprenticeship model to prepare emerging academic leaders to manage these tensions. I entered the program in August 2013 because of wanting to help defend and enhance the academy while recognizing that my 20-year faculty perspective was not the full picture. I was fortunate to spend the fellowship year at Eastern Illinois University, an institution that sets a high bar in its service to society, responsiveness to changing societal and demographic realities, and governance that includes an active and well organized collective bargaining unit. My years in the auto industry (including front-line supervision in UAW-represented manufacturing environments) had prepared me for some of the contractual complexities found at EIU, but not for the different spirit in which problems were addressed and differences resolved. If corporate CEOs can learn from university presidents, as Asghar (2013) argues, it seems feasible that corporate labor relations can learn from collective bargaining management at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Cassell, Mark and Halaseh, Odeh (2014) “The Impact of Unionization on University Performance,” Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy: Vol. 6, Article 3. Available at:

“The question of whether a unionized labor force hurts or harms an organization’s performance has been at the center of political debates since the 19th century. And although unionization rates in the United States have declined steadily since the 1970s, the actions by governors in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana to weaken public sector unions in 2010 (Greenhouse 2011), and the recent vote by Volkswagen workers in South Carolina (Greenhouse, 2014) underscore that the debate over the impact that organized labor on performance remains a salient and important question. However, it is a question often dominated by rhetoric with little empirical support. Research on unionization and performance is hampered by the lack of data and by declines in unionization rates which make it difficult to identify the influence of unionization from a range of other factors that drive performance. Higher education in the public sector is one of the few industries in the United States where unionization has remained fairly

stable over a long period time and thus offers an empirical window into the question of  how unionization affects organizational performance.

“Of course, unionization in higher education has long been controversial within and outside academia. When unionization was first introduced to college campuses in the 1960s faculty argued that joining a union would undermine professional identity, create a divisive force on campus, reduce the role of faculty senates, and weaken the campus culture of collegiality and consensus (Ladd & Lipset, 1973). Recently, during a campaign to unionize faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Nicholas C. Burbules, Professor of Education Policy expressed similar concerns at a university senate hearing:

“’[O]ne way of defining a healthy relationship of shared governance is when the administration shares information and decisions with the faculty that it is not strictly obligated to do. This happens regularly on this campus and at the university level. Collective bargaining would destroy that relationship, not “strengthen it” (Senate Remarks, 2013).’”


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