While some nontenured faculty at Duke University may have voted to unionize, those who do not not wish to join cannot be forced to because of North Carolina’s much cherished Right to Work Law. Douglas Belkin has the story in the Wall Street Journal online.
In the past three years, faculty and graduate students at nearly 70 schools have voted to unionize—a rate of nearly one school every two weeks, according to William A. Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College in New York. SEIU organizers say they have attracted more than 10,000 college instructors over the same period.
The Duke vote, which passed 174 to 29, is notable both because North Carolina is a right-to-work state—meaning employees can’t be forced to join a union to hold a job—and because adjunct faculty earn more than $7,000 a class, well over twice the national average. Duke is also one of the largest employers in the state.
On Friday, Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations, said in a statement: “We respect the decision of Duke’s adjunct faculty to form a union and remain committed to their success as valuable contributors to the university’s academic mission.”