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ERIC Number: EJ877513
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
To the Power of Many
Daniel, Jamie Owen
Academe, v96 n1 p37-38 Jan-Feb 2010
This author asserts that faculty should publicly and tenaciously support graduate student organizing campaigns. She states this not only from her perspective as a staff member of the largest higher education local in Illinois, University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100, which represents faculty and staff at seven of the state's public institutions, as well as graduate student employees at the University of Illinois at Springfield, but also from her experience organizing her own graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which bargained its first contract in 1998. She subsequently helped mobilize support for graduate students at the University of Illinois at Chicago when she was a faculty member there. They succeeded in their organizing campaign, winning recognition in 2004 and a first contract in 2006, but only after a grueling decade of struggle. They are currently bargaining their second contract. During the long campaign, many faculty worked with graduate students, building support for the students' drive through legislative initiatives, departmental resolutions, faculty senate debates, and letters to the editor and other outreach to the broader public, as well as outreach to community organizations and other labor unions. But as important as she knows this backing has been and will continue to be, if faculty limit their activities to offering support for graduate student organizing drives, they ultimately sell the students--and, she argues, themselves--woefully short and limit the positive impact such drives can have on campus power relations. As an organizer working on unionized campuses and as an assistant professor working on a nonunion campus, the author has seen that the benefits of belonging to a union go far beyond the power and leverage exercised at the bargaining table, and she has seen the more obvious material benefits a contract provides. A strong union contract is also a social contract, and a strong union can function as a structure to ensure greater social justice for everyone working, and learning, on a campus. For just as most unions are rooted in the belief that an injury to one is an injury to all, so too do most unions help ensure that benefits to one are benefits to all. These benefits include greater academic freedom; a more stable and productive relationship between administrators, faculty, and staff; and a stronger and more unified focus on the educational needs of students.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; Wisconsin