Surge in Unions for Adjuncts at Private Colleges

January 30, 2017

Non-tenure-track faculty members at private colleges are unionizing at an unprecedented rate, according to a new study published in The Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy. In recent decades, faculty unions became a rarity in private higher education because of the Supreme Court ruling that tenure-track professors have managerial authority and are thus not entitled to collective bargaining. But that ruling did not cover the growing share of faculty jobs off the tenure track. In the first nine months of 2016, 19 non-tenure-track unions were certified at private colleges. Of these units, 63.2 percent combine full-time and part-time non-tenure-track faculty members, 26.3 percent are units of part-time faculty only, and 10.5 percent are full-time-faculty units.

The author of the paper is William A. Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

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