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 14 (2023) Learning From the Past to Enhance Our Future


Volume 14 of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy (JCBA) is partly a selection of new articles, practitioner perspectives, and op-eds, which we briefly preview below. It is also partly a special issue celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hunter College’s National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions (National Center), featuring a selection of thirteen papers from the annual conference proceedings over the years. Our volume’s title, “Learning From the Past to Enhance Our Future,” echoes this year’s annual conference theme, “Looking Back, Looking Forward.”

In this issue, we happily welcome a new co-editor of JCBA, Dr. Karen Stubaus, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers University, to join Dr. Jeff Cross (now “retired,” but formerly Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern Illinois University and Ferris State University) and Dr. Gary Rhoades Professor of Higher Education, University of Arizona. The 50 years of the National Center’s existence corresponds roughly to the academic lives of the co-editors, as students and employees. Indeed, Karen and Gary have each spent almost their entire professional lives at their respective institutions, having started in 1986. Jeff began his service and work in higher education a decade earlier. Collectively, that affords us a unique vantage point from which to look back on [sorry, tried “look back at” and then liked “look back on” better!] and learn from selected papers from 50 years of the annual conference’s proceedings.

Building on the closing paragraphs of National Center Director Bill Herbert’s article in this volume, we believe that collective bargaining is “a form of workplace democracy,” and that it is “an important means for advancing higher education and the working conditions at colleges and universities as well as other industries.” (National Center Mission Statement)

As Herbert notes, that marks quite a shift from the National Center’s original, neutral mission to “take no position for or against collective bargaining,” What is continuous, though, is a commitment to the National Center bringing to bear “information and understanding” regarding collective bargaining. Thus, we also believe, as the current National Center Mission Statement indicates, that,

[T]he study of collective bargaining is essential for a knowledge-based dialogue concerning labor-management and educational issues, and is critically important for reasoned societal debate that will lead to social progress.

That is at the heart of our work with JCBA. And that is what we hope this special issue contributes to and provides.

Volume 14 includes two articles, two new interview articles, an op-ed, and a practitioner perspective. Together, they reflect and address longstanding issues in collective bargaining as well as provoke thought and discussion on the ongoing, pressing issues of today and the foreseeable future. Richard Boris provides an op-ed from his perspective as immediate-past Executive Director of the National Center. He repeats and expands upon several critical observations and suggestions as possible guides for the National Center’s future. From his perspective as Senior Labor Advisor, American Association of University Professors, Mike Mauer traces the AAUP’s history of advocacy and protection of academic freedom through collective bargaining. Bill Herbert has written a history of the National Center tracing events leading to its creation at the City University of New York (CUNY), and then summarizing the National Center’s evolving leadership, programming, research, and publications. Giovanna Follo’s practitioner perspective is an autoethnography describing personal dilemma that led her, a pro-union advocate, to cross the picket line.

We also introduce a new format with this issue—interviews with practitioners (and authors), which apropos of the volume’s theme, provide rich historical perspective to inform the future path of collective bargaining in the academy. The first, “Centering anti-racism and social justice, toward a more perfect union,” is a conversation with Cecil E. Canton (former Associate Vice President) and Charles Toombs (current President) of the California Faculty Association, based on work each has published about about the historical progression and future work of CFA in moving towards a more social justice- centered union. The second, “Power despite precarity,” is a conversation with longtime contingent faculty labor activists and scholars, Joe Berry and Helena Worthen, about their recent book, which looks at the history of the contingent faculty labor movement, provides an in-depth exploration of the case and contract of the California Faculty Association in regard to contingent faculty, and identifies strategies for the future.

Selections from 50 years of annual conference proceedings. Working with the National Center’s Director, Bill Herbert, the co-editors selected papers from each of the decades of the conference proceedings, for a Baker’s Dozen of papers. Inevitably, such a small selection of (thirteen) papers from such a long span of time means that many valuable and interesting papers have been left out. As we go through a brief discussion of the papers we’ve selected and why, we will also refer the reader to some examples of other such papers that we feel are particularly noteworthy, and/or that are authored by folks who have made important academic contributions in other professional conferences and academic journals as well. Further, we note and encourage you to search on the JCBA website, which has a tab to connect to the most downloaded papers.

A half century spans a long period of time encompassing many developments in higher education collective bargaining and society. In making our thirteen selections, we have sought to include conference papers that were timely, as markers of key historical developments, as well as timeless, pointing to enduring issues in collective bargaining. As we elaborate a bit below, it is striking how many issues have re-emerged or been in play in an ongoing way throughout the decades. At the same time, even so, as with the successive, iterative negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, which involves debate, deliberation, and negotiation around similar issues, each negotiation builds on the foundation of previous ones. History, then, informs, is there to be learned from, and is always carried in some manner into the present, even as it is newly negotiated for the future.

In collective bargaining in higher education, as in society, what may once have seemed settled law and/or practice can become surprisingly unsettled decades later. Here we are, fifty years after Roe v Wade, more than ever (re)-litigating, negotiating and navigating issues of gender and women’s reproductive, medical, and travel rights in ways that directly implicate universities. So, too, over six decades after a civil rights movement and landmark Supreme Court decisions and legislation, we continue to (re)negotiate and navigate the rights of minoritized and marginalized people in ways that play out in and shape higher education. Just as we continue to (re)legislate, litigate, and negotiate the right to vote, so we see similar ongoing struggles in regard to the collective bargaining rights of different categories of (academic) employees in different sectors of higher education. For the National Center’s entire history, and each decade of the editors’ collective experience, higher education has been in the midst of and subject to an austerity agenda. The polarized politics of the 1960s and 1970s are present again in current attacks and legislation regarding, assaulting, and banning Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ+ rights, and more, violating the academic freedom, human rights, and dignity of members and institutions in the higher education world, more than five decades after Stonewall. As the saying goes, plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

As with collective bargaining negotiations, issues keep cycling back, as we see in selected papers of the past 50 years of conference proceedings. Yet it is not negotiated on the same territory by the same players with the same expectations as Nicholas DiGiovanni’s 2015 conference paper nicely articulates, and history and the future are not stories of linear, relentless, progress. Yet, if there is this ongoing back and forth, of two steps forward and one or more step(s) back, we hope and work towards that being in the context, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, of a larger trajectory of and arc of the moral universe that bends towards justice. So, we see it is in higher education collective bargaining, with new groups of employees at the table and with a more expansive range of issues being negotiated to intersect workplace and social justice.

The conference papers we have selected are bookended by Sidney Hook’s 1973 essay on “The academic mission and collective bargaining,” and Thomas Auxter’s 2016 retrospective analysis, “Collective bargaining and labor representation for higher education in a ‘right to work’ environment.” The matters they address look to learn from the past and enhance the future of higher education, as characterizes our special issue.

As an NYU Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Hook reflects on competing philosophers and perspectives on how to organize academic work(ers), contrasting the views of John Dewey and Arthur Lovejoy, the first President and first General Secretary of the American Association of University Professors. Whereas Dewey was also a founding member and early officer of the American Federation of Teachers (and held membership card number 1), and strongly supported unions, Lovejoy was a proponent of professional associations as the preferred organizing model, opposing unions, and juxtaposing the idea of a job to a calling. The differing views, and the contrasting perspectives they offer on being a “professional” continue to play out in different forms in higher education. Indeed, that difference has been of ongoing relevance in the AAUP. And in a full circle moment, interestingly, this past year, the AFT and AAUP have formed an affiliation arrangement that appears to give the former the lead role in collective bargaining and the latter an ongoing, lead role in academic freedom and policy. Notably, the position that Hook comes to is an important one in looking to the future.

I conclude from these and related considerations that intelligent choice today is not between acceptance or rejection of the principle of collective bargaining but between the different forms of collective bargaining. … [W]e must ask: under what form of collective bargaining can the academic mission best be preserved and strengthened?

That is something for us all to consider.

Yet, as Auxter’s 2016 analysis considers, the question of whether and to what extent employees have collective bargaining rights continues to be a vexed and contested matter. In light of the Harris v Quinn and Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court decisions, effectively making all states in some regard “right to work,” Auxter provides a history of how the United Faculty of Florida, first established in 1976, has navigated this environment, and the transformations it has undergone in the process. A central part of the story is its experience and developed capacity to effectively navigate state-level politics with legislatures and governors that had anti-union and anti-faculty agendas. Given how developments in Florida are currently unfolding, that is a particularly relevant historical context with valuable lessons for action.

Joel M. Douglas’ 1981 paper, “The Yeshiva case: One year later,” addresses an earlier, defining Supreme Court decision that has had profound effects on collective bargaining in higher education. If Douglas’ perspective is of one year later, we know now its ongoing ripple effects on the bargaining rights of faculty. That is particularly true in the independent sector of higher education, where Yeshiva has inhibited the growth of tenure-stream faculty units in private colleges and universities. It is true as well of contingent faculty with influence on governance. And the ripple effect has extended into public sector higher education as well. For example, in 2010, following Wisconsin’s attack on public sector employees’ bargaining rights (excepting police and firefighters) a piece of state legislation in Ohio that was signed and then repealed in a referendum, included Yeshiva-like language eliminating full-time faculty’s collective bargaining rights if they had a role in governance.

Going back to the 1973 conference proceedings, we also have selected Margaret Chandler and Connie Chiang’s paper, “Management rights issues in collective bargaining in higher education.” The paper provides a thorough, empirical, and what can serve for us now as a baseline analysis of management rights and faculty rights in ninety-one collective bargaining agreements (seventy of which were in community colleges, reflecting the predominance of this sector in higher education collective bargaining), modeling what has become a more consistent part of the National Center’s work under Bill Herbert’s leadership. Thus, now, we see the National Center not only collecting and cataloging contracts, but also detailing and analyzing developments in collective bargaining, expanding now to include data on strikes.

From almost a quarter century later, we selected Ernst Benjamin’s 1997 paper, “Faculty, unions, and management,” which provides a faculty perspective on faculty and management rights in collective bargaining. In contrast to Chandler and Chiang’s piece, this is not a detailed analysis of collective bargaining agreement language. Rather, it offers a thoughtful take on the subject that focuses on court cases, and particularly on shared governance, which, as Benjamin says, “can and often does coexist successfully with collective bargaining, to the benefit of the academic mission of the institution.” Although it is important to place this issue in the context of the early days of debating whether shared governance in the form of faculty senates and collective bargaining can coexist, it is also a matter of enduring significance in the adjudication of faculty’s collective bargaining rights, particularly in private institutions. We also direct attention in the papers of the 1997 proceedings to the related institutional governance and partisan politics issue, which we see much of today, in the form of “activist” trustees and the role of faculty unions in response to them in governance matters, in papers by a SUNY trustee, Candace deRussy, and by UUP President, William E. Scheuerman.

Two other papers, in 1988 Edward R. Hines’ “State support for higher education: A twenty year contextual analysis,” and in 1994, Christine Maitland’s “Collective bargaining and technology,” address issues of enduring significance. Hines’ paper offers historical perspective from Illinois State’s Grapevine report that tracks the fundamental shift in public higher education in relative declines in state appropriations versus significant increases in tuition and fees. The combined framing of a policy context in terms of an austerity agenda with climbing college costs for students has for half a century been at the center of collective bargaining negotiations.

So, too, as it is for all workers and industries, the introduction of new technologies, in this case, instructional and delivery technologies is an enduring focus of negotiations between labor and management. Maitland’s thorough empirical analysis of collective bargaining agreements nationally speaks to patterns in the workload, compensation, and intellectual property provisions that have been negotiated. The broad pattern is of provisions being more “defensive” in giving some protections to faculty and ensuring compensation and some level of claims on copyright for distance education courses than they are proactive in ensuring faculty voice in decision making around instructional technology issues. Contract language was more common and extensive in community college contracts, but overall was still limited in terms of the number of contracts with provisions and their scope. For a more current perspective, nearly two decades later, in a 2016 conference paper, “Copyleft, copyright, and copy for the public interest,” and in a 2015 JCBA article, “What are we negotiating for: Public interest bargaining,” Gary Rhoades details the more extensive incidence of contract provisions on technology issues, and offers examples of contract provisions that proactively address public interest issues surrounding technology use and training, and distance education intellectual property rights that go beyond the immediate interests of the two parties at the bargaining table.

On another matter of enduring significance, two of the papers we selected focus on contingent faculty employment. One, by Frank Costco, in 2008, “Vancouver Community College, New models of contingent faculty inclusion,” features what for many in the contingent faculty labor movement, serves as one of the gold standards of collective bargaining agreements. It also is an example of the several papers over the years addressing collective bargaining in Canada. Further, it focuses on the institutional realm of community colleges that ironically, given its predominance in terms of union density, is under-emphasized in the papers. [Yes, extremely good point!]

A second paper, in 2015 by Karen Stubaus, “The professionalization of non-tenure track faculty in the United States: Three case studies,” details the history and current status of non-tenure track faculty, whose numbers have been expanding considerably. Through the vehicle of three cases, Stubaus provides significant insight into the different configurations by which, within and beyond the collective bargaining agreement, non-tenure track faculty have negotiated improved, more professional working conditions that have incorporated them more into the academic life of their institutions and academic units. The cases of Rutgers University, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Oregon each provide quite a different take in the configuration of the bargaining units, which speaks to significant differences in institutional history and state law. And yet in each case, similar issues are addressed.

On the issue of adjunct faculty, we also want to call attention historically to the 1982 conference proceedings with one of the first discussions of the increased use of adjunct faculty. Nancy L. Hodes, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations in New York provides a frank discussion of the political and economic rationales (“Use Justified”) for the hiring of larger numbers of “part-timers” (the dehumanizing and inaccurate term is in itself a marker of the times), entitled, “The use and abuse of part-timers-I: Casual employees, scabs, or saviors?” The companion, Part II piece is written by Nuala McGann Drescher, President of the United University Professions, who speaks to the legitimacy and quality of these faculty, and the need to strengthen collective bargaining rights and working conditions for them, integrating them into bargaining units. She also importantly draws attention to the “affirmative action” dimension of exploiting these faculty, given the larger proportions of them who are women.[Thank you for calling this out!] At this point, both contributions center a claim or a concern about the erosion of full-time faculty. To give a sense of the changing times, a recent contribution to JCBA (Rhoades, 2021) points to contingent faculty’s centrality to and leadership in the academic labor movement.

One of the papers we selected addresses another employment segment, graduate employees, that, as with contingent faculty, has experienced dramatic increases in the growth of new bargaining units in the 2000s, as detailed in Bill Herbert’s 2016 JCBA article, “The winds of changes shift: An analysis of recent growth in bargaining units and representation efforts in higher education.” The 1999 conference paper, “The Current Status of Graduate Student Unions: An Employer's Perspective,” by Daniel J. Julius provides a turn-of-the-century summary of graduate employee unionization. He offers an extensive review of national patterns and issues in relation to this realm of organizing, from a management perspective as well as of someone who has published on these issues. The timing of this review is noteworthy, as in the next two decades graduate employee unionization proliferated, particularly in the private sector, as the National Center’s Bill Herbert’s 2016 JCBA piece, “The winds of changes shift,” documents. Moreover, the subsequent decades have seen several NLRB rulings and reversals, as well as state-level employment board rulings that have also influenced patterns of graduate student unionization. Further, that realm of organizing and negotiation has seen a significant expansion of the sorts of issues addressed in collective bargaining, centering social justice issues, a point nicely captured in another paper we refer you to, Jon Curtiss’ 2015 history and discussion of important current issues, in bargaining for one of the earliest and most important graduate student unions, the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Michigan.

On the latter matter, we have selected two papers that address social justice issues. The first is a 1993 paper by Rachel Hendrickson, “Sexual harassment on campus and a union’s dilemma.” It is part of an entire section of papers on discrimination, including several papers on the Americans with Disabilities Act and on pay equity. Hendrickson offers an analysis of national data on collective bargaining agreements, first noting that relatively few address sexual harassment in any great detail, and then providing some examples of contracts that in contrast contain extensive language. As well, she walks through the various questions that surround how to address sexual harassment in relation to the campus policies and procedures that are being developed and applied outside of collective bargaining. Notably, Hendrickson closes by encouraging labor and management “to institute training for all supervisors and faculty and to provide it on an ongoing basis.” That suggestion is all the more relevant today, three decades later. It is also notable that although much attention is directed in the paper to campus-based processes, one of the almost universal demands of graduate and postdoc unions today, after decades of largely unsatisfactory experience of institutions’ handling of such matters, is for access to independent external arbitration in matters of harassment and discrimination.[Yes!]

A decade earlier, the 1984 conference also had a series of papers on sex discrimination. Although it is not as focused on collective bargaining, there are some good contributions, including an overview by Bernice Resnick Sandler addressing the “times that try men’s souls.” There are also contributions on case law, and on comparable worth and grievance claims. A paper that is focused on collective bargaining is Nina Rothchild’s case study of the Minnesota experience in relation to the state’s collective bargaining law and comparable worth legislation.

A second paper we have selected on social justice issues is a 2015 conference paper by Derryn Moten, of Alabama State University, addressing social and labor justice in the context of HBCUs, in “The history of collective bargaining in higher education: The case of HBCUs.” In an historical review of HBCUs that intersects with racial justice and class-based justice through unionization issues, Moten calls our attention to the fact that Howard University was the site of the AFT’s first higher education affiliate, Local 33, in 1918 (though it disbanded in 1921).

In a revealing analysis of anti-labor laws and policy in the Reconstruction years, and in the 20th century with anti-strike and “right to work” laws in Alabama, Moten intersects labor history with the history of Jim Crow and White Supremacy in the South. The lessons for the academic labor movement in intersecting workplace and social justice should be clear. In addition to pointing to those HBCUs in which faculty are unionized (in most cases, with AAUP affiliates), Moten bookends his piece with two historical quotes. The first, from 1920, is about White paternalism and HBCUs, “Neither the prestige nor the income of any Negro college has ever been appreciably augmented by the administration of a white president,” relating the point to desirable working conditions as well. Moten sets up the second quote with a forward-looking call to current Black presidents and faculty of HBCUs in relation to respecting and not fighting the collective bargaining efforts of employees: “[G]iven the racial history of HBCUs, it might seem ironic that the fight has moved from a struggle between Black folk and White folk over equitable treatment to a struggle where Black folk fight with Black folk over equitable treatment.” The last line of Moten’s paper is a Frederick Douglas quote, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” Fast forward 100 years, after Moten’s article, and the non-tenure track faculty at Howard University have done precisely that, successfully unionized, affiliated with SEIU Local 500, and signed collective bargaining agreements in 2022.[Nice!]

Finally, we have selected Nicholas DiGiovanni’s 2015 paper, “This much I know is true: The five intangible influences on collective bargaining.” It is among the most downloaded items from the website. And in many ways, it encapsulates the gestalt of academic collective bargaining. Based on nearly four decades of experience, DiGiovanni speaks to the intricacies and subtleties of the bargaining process, each round and cycle of which is somewhat unpredictable. Focusing on the process and performance of negotiating at the table, he identifies five factors that are part of the contingency of how the bargaining will play out—history, expectations, the nature and character of the players, timing, and catharsis. It is a profoundly practical reminder that for all the formal, legal dimensions of the process, collective bargaining is a human process, in which cultural and affective influences play out.

Finally, as a preface to the Baker’s Dozen of exemplary proceedings papers republished in this Volume, Daniel J. Julius has provided a contemporary commentary and a perspective on some academic collective bargaining “small world” observations spanning 50 years of National Center conferences.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy Volume 14, honoring the National Center’s 50th anniversary. We hope as well that this issue (as do the journal, the annual conference, and the Center) serves the goal of enhancing our collective future by sharing and circulating the collective experience, expertise, empirical analysis, insight, and wisdom of our contributors and community. For that is at the heart of the National Center’s mission and work.




Practitioner Perspective

Proceedings Materials