The university I have served as president since 2007, a master’s comprehensive university with a majority of the undergraduates in a traditional residential experience, has just under 12,000 students and approximately 2,000 faculty and staff members. Five out of six faculty and staff members are either in a collective bargaining unit or in the state universities civil service system, with some of those individuals in both. I had previously served as dean of faculties and as vice provost at a much larger university in which neither faculty nor staff were in a union or a civil service system.

During the interview process for my current position, I was asked about my experience with unions. Upon my answer of none, except for a couple of summer jobs as a union member, the subsequent question was whether I thought this would be an issue, should I be selected. My answer at the time, which I believe holds true today, was that I did not believe it would be an issue, since the faculty, staff, and administration of a university are joined in common cause: the education of students and the advancement of knowledge. This common cause unites us and provides a foundation on which to build successful negotiations.

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