Editors-in-Chief: Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona
  Karen Stubaus, Rutgers University
  Jeffrey Cross, Eastern Illinois University (Emeritus)

The Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy (JCBA) is a publication of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education.

JCBA is an open access, peer-reviewed, online periodical the purpose of which is to advance research and scholarly thought related to academic collective bargaining and to make relevant and pragmatic peer-reviewed research readily accessible to practitioners and to scholars in the field.

We welcome submissions from a wide community of practitioners including, but not limited to college and university faculty, graduate students, administrators, union leaders, and others with an interest in collective bargaining in the academy. Please see the Aims & Scope page for more information.

JCBA is supported in part by a generous contribution from TIAA and is hosted by the institutional repository of Eastern Illinois University (EIU), The Keep (a service of EIU's Booth Library).

Current Volume: Volume 15 (2024) Learning From and Building On Collective Bargaining’s Foundations and Experience


Volume 15 of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy (JCBA) is a selection of seven new contributions, consisting of one op-ed, five articles, and a practitioner perspective, which we briefly preview below. It partly continues our previous issue’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hunter College’s National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions with a historical retrospective on collective bargaining, in featuring some contributions that came out of presentations at last year’s annual conference. It also intentionally centers in some contributions reflecting on the decades of collective bargaining experience represented in the National Center’s members and participants. Further, it centers some contributions addressing timeless and timely as well as emergent developments in collective bargaining. Our volume’s title, “Learning from and building on collective bargaining’s foundations and experience,” embodies and seeks to carry forward the significant human, iterative, and collective experience and wisdom of collective bargaining that the editors believe are more important than ever at this important generational, transitional juncture in not just the history of collective bargaining in higher education, but also in its principals.

In this issue, following last year’s joyful welcome of a new JCBA co-editor, Dr. Karen Stubaus, now former Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers University, we speak now, with profound gratitude and respect, tinged with equal parts sadness for us and happiness for him, to Dr. Jeff Cross’ decision to pass the proverbial baton and cycle off the co-editorship of JCBA. Although Jeff was already “retired,” from his former position as Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs (and Associate Professor) at Eastern Illinois University, he will now be able to enjoy even more time devoted to the next stage of his life, freeing himself up from the careful, detailed, and extraordinarily efficient managing of JCBA editorial work. The work and presence of Jeff will be, quite simply irreplaceable. His deep commitment to the Center and to the work and authors of JCBA, leave a lasting legacy. Indeed, for so many, many years, Jeff has made JCBA a reality, with his capable, behind the scenes work. He embodies so much, in relation to our journal, the Center, and his university, of the best of what the academy has to offer. And Karen, as well as Gary Rhoades, the other co-editor, will miss him beyond measure, even as we think of what Jeff would do and say, with a warm smile.

The JCBA editorial transition reflects a larger transition in the world of collective bargaining, with the transition of so many long-time, management side administrators and negotiators. Over the last few years, the Board of the National Center has discussed this generational shift, and the potential loss of collective knowledge and wisdom borne of decades of bargaining experience as well as of commitment to the institutions being represented in the negotiations. Last year, both Karen Stubaus and Pam Silverblatt (CUNY) transitioned out of decades-long roles. Not long before that, so did Susan Pearson (University of Massachusetts) and Jeff Frumkin (University of Michigan). And, indeed, Jeff Cross (Eastern Illinois University) some years previously.

The above folks, and so many others, along with their faculty-side counterparts, have built solid foundations for collective bargaining in higher education. So many have had long tenures at their institutions, with which come understandings of higher education’s purpose and place, networks of social relationships, and a calm understanding of and comfort with the performative and dramatic dimensions of unionization and unions in higher education even in the heat of the moment. And here, we would like to honor the work and acknowledge the passing of another such person, Dr. Margaret E. Winters, former professor (of French and Linguistics) and Provost at Wayne State University and accomplished academic bargaining practitioner who is also a contributing author to this volume of JCBA. Winters exemplified that spirit of bargaining in good faith with a deep commitment to the universities she served so well. And that measured approach, the relationships and willingness to work across the table, come through in her co-authored interview piece with Bill Connellan, as they did in her life and work. That steady approach to collective bargaining is at the core of constructive college bargaining over time.

In Volume 15, Winters and Connellan bring to bear many decades of experience, including with multiple strikes in a conversation about strikes at Oakland University that yields, “Some thoughts of faculty strikes.” Their piece is a valuable reminder that although the incidence of strikes in higher education has recently increased dramatically, as National Center Executive Director, Bill Herbert, along with Jacob Apkarian and Joseph van der Naald have documented, particularly with graduate assistants, there is a long history of faculty strikes. Winters’ and Connellan’s conversation yields insights about the value of communication and “back-channel” communications between management and labor, even amidst hard negotiations and strikes. And one of the observations and recommendations is very much worth keeping in mind:

Strike threats often seem more ominous than they should to administrative leaders and even relatively inexperienced team members. Deciding what is genuine possibility of action is more an art than a science, but chief negotiators needs to do as much as possible to prepare those on their own side to understand broadly the nature of collective bargaining and the basis of the lead negotiators’ recommendations and judgment.

This conversational “Practitioner’s Perspective” piece, follows two such contributions in Volume 14, with faculty labor leaders, which similarly provided insight and historical perspective.

Continuing with the historical and hands-on perspective, Nick DiGiovanni Jr.’s article, “The importance of the chief negotiator,” brings together decades of management side experience in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, more recently particularly with graduate employee unions. The article builds on a previous (2011) contribution, “This much I know is true: The five intangible influences on collective bargaining,” featured in last year’s JCBA which has been one of the most downloaded articles in the journal. In the current contribution, DiGiovanni hones in on the role of the chief negotiator with a very compelling reading on the practicalities of the role, and at the same time a compelling vision of the goal, which goes beyond “winning or losing,” and entails, in his words, “At best, the chief negotiator should leave the [management/labor] relationship as good or better than he or she found it.” Again, so much hinges on relationships (not just past or current, but also future ones), on separating the wheat (what really matters) from the chaff (the noise) in the negotiations, and on setting and setting the tone, with regard to attitude towards those across the table. In discussing the pros and cons of using external counsel or of an academic administrator in the chief negotiator role, DiGiovanni thoughtfully addresses a related dimension of collective bargaining, its iterative nature. In his words,

The most important element of collective bargaining is that it does not involve a “one off” contract. The relationship between the contracting parties is a permanent one, and the round of bargaining is but one episode in a long relationship. The lawyer handling such negotiations must take that into account in a way that is different from simply negotiating a single contract for a party.

Such an observation puts into perspective any particular round of negotiations, recognizing the impact they can have on the ongoing relationship between labor and management.

Two other articles in Volume 15 also bring to bear several decades of experience in retrospective analyses of collective bargaining at two institutions, in articles borne of presentations at the 2023 conference. Each speaks to the iterative construction of the foundations on which current and future negotiations may build (or unwisely, ignore, or worse, de(con)struct). Longtime faculty leader, Art Hochner, offers, “TAUP’s 50 year collective bargaining story.” The story is in some ways the story of collective bargaining in higher education writ large. Tracing the evolution of the union in its affiliations, in its militancy, and in who is included/incorporated into the bargaining unit, Hocher walks us through various periods of the academic labor movement, with the increased organizing and activism of full- and part-time non-tenure track faculty, and how faculty unions come increasingly to more inclusively center these faculty members’ lived experiences and bargaining priorities. As he says in closing his article, the fight continues, on the foundation and strength of the 50 previous years of collective bargaining.

In the other retrospective article, “The 50 year history of collective bargaining at Hofstra University,” three faculty and three administrative leaders (Herman A. Berliner, Peter C. Daniel, Bernard J. Firestone, Estelle S. Gellman, Elizabeth J. Ploran, and Liora P. Schmelkin), take the reader through not only the issues addressed in collective bargaining during those times, but also the process by which the negotiations were conducted. As the co-authors detail, they collectively share more than two centuries of experience at Hofstra University, and part of the continuity they bring stems not only from their longevity and experience, but also from their collective self-characterization as consensus builders (in a setting where such an orientation did not define everyone involved). The tracing of working conditions’ evolution over time and the ways those were handled in the contracts offers a powerful story of the value of collective bargaining, and the intersection of what is being bargaining with larger social issues, such as gender equity and inclusion in the workplace. And on the recurrent theme in this issue of the iterative nature of collective bargaining, the co-authors speak in closing to their sense that, “The win is in working through these issues.”

In the article, “Analyzing the upward trend in academic unionization: Drivers and influences,” Andi Cleamons offers an academic overview that explores influences, challenges, and developments that reflect and express shifting public perceptions and political dynamics. The article also considers the rebalancing of governance in higher education broadly, and the accompanying re-energizing of established bargaining units, informed by Cleamons’ particular experience in Florida, where she is a Director of Academic Affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University. It is heartening to see someone somewhat newer to the collective bargaining process (with about a decade of experience) taking this sort of comprehensive approach to the subject. And Cleamons’ direct exploration of hotly contested struggles between the state, faculty unions, and campuses over academic freedom, tenure, and union rights is impressive and valuable.

In their article, “The persistence of separate and unequal: Debunking myths of the market in bargaining for faculty gender salary equity,” Joanna E. Foster and Jen McGovern, Sociology professors at Monmouth University provide a strong overview of the issues, the available data, and the prevailing narratives about the persistent gendered salary disparities. They offer a particularly nice deconstruction of three “the market made us do it” rationales for ongoing inequities. The myths they take on are that work is different in different disciplines, that pay disparities are due to faculty just choosing lower paying fields, and that administrators have no choice but to perpetuate field differentials in order to recruit faculty to “high demand” fields. The authors than close with recommendations for constructing effective negotiations to advance labor and management’s interests and to reduce gender-based pay inequities.

In this issue’s opinion piece, “Collective bargaining among undergraduate students,” Dan Julius and Nick DiGiovanni Jr., consider two questions: where are undergraduates being organized for collective bargaining; and what impact does their unionization have on the undergraduate experience. In addition to providing some valuable data on undergraduate student unionization, and placing the phenomenon in historical perspective, the authors offer a balanced view of the possible pros and cons in the effects of undergraduate unionization. In closing, as two management side negotiators of long experience, the authors provide the view that, “Managed effectively however, collective bargaining can facilitate long-range planning, resource allocation, the management of employees, and conflict resolution.”

We hope that you enjoy Volume 15 of JCBA. We hope as well that this issue (as do the journal, the annual conference, and the National Center) serves the goal of enhancing our collective knowledge, wisdom, and future, to the benefit of the employees, institutions, students, communities, and public purposes that we serve.




Collective Bargaining Among Undergraduate Students
Daniel J. Julius, Nicholas DiGiovanni Jr., and Jai Abrams



The 50 Year History of Collective Bargaining at Hofstra University
Herman A. Berliner, Peter C. Daniel, Bernard J. Firestone, Estelle S. Gellman, Elizabeth J. Ploran, and Liora P. Schmelkin

Practitioner Perspectives


Some Thoughts of Faculty Strikes
Margaret E. Winters and William Connellan