Upheaval and Challenges Continue
From the Editors
As we look back at the past editions of the Journal, we find the assumed optimism of our initial issue two and half years ago not surprisingly short-sighted. The theme was “Academic Bargaining in Hard Times”: of course we all thought those were hard times. The second edition starts with “as the Great Recession continues.”
With this third edition, those “hard times” seem to be the new normal. The days of supra-inflationary general pay increases seem lore from long ago, and substantive discussions at the table about academic issues are buried under the tension of finding solutions to the budgetary woes that cross the country. Both editors are currently at the table and can attest to the challenges.
But one of the values of the Journal is the opportunity to share practical experiences (which the editors may well do in a practitioner piece once they both have agreements) that inform and enlighten those of us involved or interested in academic collective bargaining. Nicholas DiGiovanni’s and Suzanne Wagner and C. Henrik Borgstrom’s practitioner perspective pieces provide, we hope, the kind of insight and enlightenment for those working at the table that the Journal hopes to provide.
Along with that piece, the two op-eds reflect changes in perspective since the Journal came into existence. Back in those halcyon days (yes, three years ago), few foresaw the upheaval in public sector collective bargaining that we have seen across the Midwest since the 2010 elections. Both Julius and Kriger show the efficacy of collective bargaining in their pieces, arguing against what seems to be a national impetus on collective bargaining.
The centerpieces are, as we hope is to be our norm, the research pieces. Two economics professors in Pennsylvania (Lynn A. Smith and Robert S. Balough), describe reasons why faculty unions may no longer have the same bargaining power they once did. In doing so, they raise questions about how faculty unions incorporate temporary faculty (by whatever name) into their bargaining units. Helen Fairfoul, Laurence Hopkins, and Geoff White add an international point of view in their overview of the collective bargaining system in United Kingdom higher education including some of its current challenges.
All of the above demonstrates what we could not have foreseen three years: rapid change in the larger economic and political environment. The Journal has not remained static either.
With this issue, we say good-bye to one of the original co-editors, William Scheuerman, who has retired. He is replaced by Steve Hicks, who is a member of the English Department of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and currently serving as the president of APSCUF (the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties), one of the largest faculty unions in the country and a founding member of the National Center. Jeff Cross, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern Illinois University continues as a co-editor. We also welcome two associate editors, James Castagnera, Associate Provost and Associate Counsel for Academic Affairs at Rider University and Jeff Halpern, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Rider University.
We also change, subtly, our format, as our host, Booth Library at Eastern Illinois University, has moved us to the University's institutional repository—The Keep. The Journal benefits from several new features including a built-in peer review process that tracks submission and referee activity, automatically generated article reports for editors and authors, and search engine enhancements that increase Google visibility of Journal documents. The end product may not look much different, but with the right work, we anticipate more submissions and more frequent issues.
We have also committed to publishing the proceedings of the National Center’s annual conference as special issues of the Journal. These have been previously published on the website of the National Center at Hunter College and hosted by Eastern Illinois University’s Booth Library. Now we plan to make available the insights many of us hear in New York every April.
Collective Bargaining In United Kingdom Higher Education
Helen Fairfoul, Laurence Hopkins, and Geoff White