ERIC Number: ED446647
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Graduate Student Unionization in Higher Education. ERIC Digest.
Cavell, Lori J.
This digest addresses the history, motives, key players, potential effects, and future of the graduate student unionization movement. The course of faulty unionization efforts is intricately tied to that of graduate student unions. Graduate student employees have attempted to unionize at both public and private college and universities. There has been a significant increase in the use of teaching assistants since 1975, and the use of graduate students as instructors has tightened the already competitive academic job market. Graduate students and part-time faculty fear that there will not be space for them in the permanent, full-time, tenured positions of academia, and many look to unionization as a means to secure their current positions and force universities to acknowledge the dilemma. The issues that typically arise are whether graduate students can be considered employees, and whether unionization is appropriate for graduate students. These decisions vary by state. Within institutions, most opposition has come from full-time tenured faculty. To date, few studies have been conducted on the effects of graduate student unions, but universities without graduate assistant unions and with heavy use of part-time faculty and graduate students have experienced stagnation in full-time faculty salaries. The future of graduate student unionization is uncertain, although in public higher education institutions, the path appears to be widening for such unions. Graduate student unions at private institutions face additional complications, and the issues related to these unions merit further consideration. (Contains 14 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, Washington, DC.