Academic Unions: Join or Say, ‘Goodbye to Your Career’

Jan 29, 2019 |  NAS

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Academic Unions: Join or Say, ‘Goodbye to Your Career’

Jan 29, 2019 | 

NAS

NEW YORK, NY, January 29, 2019 - The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has filed an amicus brief supporting St. Cloud State University Political Science Professor Kathleen Uradnik’s petition for appeal in her fight to secure her constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech and association. The petition was filed with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals after Minnesota Federal District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson denied the motion for preliminary injunction in the case of Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Organization, et al.

Professor Uradnik’s petition to the Eighth Circuit argues that forcing her to pay union dues violates her First Amendment rights. NAS is represented in its amicus brief by William Jonathan Haun.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 secured the rights of nonunion workers not to be forced to pay union dues,” said Peter W. Wood, president of NAS. “But the ruling left open several widespread abuses, including the power of faculty unions to trample the rights of individual faculty members to speak for themselves. Some unions enjoy the ability to represent their opinions as the exclusive views of all faculty members, including those who don’t even belong to the union. This is wrong,” said Dr. Wood.

While NAS takes no position on whether college and university faculty should unionize, it draws a sharp distinction between collective bargaining and ideological advocacy. Dr. Wood said, “When faculty unions declare their support for one side of a contentious political or philosophical debate, and represent this view as the collective wisdom of the whole faculty, they force those faculty members who hold different views to conform. This is what the courts call ‘compelled speech,’ and it violates both academic freedom and the spirit of the First Amendment.”

Peter W. Wood continued, “The National Association of Scholars is opposed to any union strong-arming non-members into ideological conformity by exclusive representation. The political activity of unions is often the very reason professors do not join in the first place. Furthermore, NAS finds that reserving administrative and faculty appointments to union members improperly restricts the role of individual faculty in university governance. Protecting First Amendment rights and ending faculty unions’ assertion of exclusive representation is necessary for a free academy respectful of ideological diversity and inclusion.”

andrew villalon

| February 21, 2019 - 2:58 PM


I am a strong supporter of faculty unions; in fact, of unions as a whole.  For many years, I was a very active member of the AAUP at the University of Cincinnati, to an extent that I was one of the administration’s least favorite people. And I strongly support faculty paying bargaining fees (as distinct from union dues) in those cases where the union bargains for salaries and working conditions. On the other hand, I am totally against any group (unions included) claiming to speak for those who do not agree with that group’s position. A faculty union should be able to enunciate the union position, but not speak for the faculty as a whole.Free speech means just that—FREE SPEECH.I would only add that during my many years at the University of Cincinnati, I never had anyone in the faculty or the union try to censor or silence me. Strong disagreement with what I was saying, yes, but censorship, never.

William C. Mackenzie

| March 02, 2019 - 11:47 PM


Mackenzie education axiom #1 :

By law of definition, Education stops where monopoly begins, the law of self-preservation of the union [in the case at hand; arbitrarily imposed forced unionism] requires it.

Acceptance and perpetuation of such a lawless imposition is acceptance of corruption which is death to education.

LOVE EDUCATES
William C. Mackenzie
73 Tipping Rock Road
Goffstown, NH 03045

John Wenger

| April 10, 2019 - 4:17 PM


My name is John Wenger, I am a life member of the NAS, and I was the grievance chairman of The Cook County College Teachers Union for almost 16 years.  I am very disappointed that the NAS has taken this partisan position over the right of unions to collect mandatory fair share dues.  My opinion on the Supreme Court’s decision is unprintable.

Peter Wood says, ““When faculty unions declare their support for one side of a contentious political or philosophical debate, and represent this view as the collective wisdom of the whole faculty, they force those faculty members who hold different views to conform.”  This is absolute nonsense.  The union may indeed represent itself as the collective wisdom of the entire faculty, but that doesn’t make it so, nor does it force those faculty members who hold different views to conform to anything. 

When I went to meetings of the AFT, I used to attack many of the high-minded proclamations on the floor as unrelated to the work we were doing, but it never occurred to me that we were forcing anything on anyone.  Our assertions may have been (often were, actually) pretentious, but they were not coercive.

In any case, fair share dues are used to achieve and then enforce the contracts that apply to all faculty members., and this attack is nothing less than an attack on majority rule.  No one’s first amendment rights are being violated.