Public Employees and Higher Ed Under Fire

We are in the midst of an unprecedented coordinated attack on public employees and public higher education. Government funding for higher education is being withdrawn, even as enrollments rise. And some administrators and boards of trustees are using financial uncertainty as an excuse to cut much more drastically than is necessary--often without real faculty input.

Below is an overview. 

See information on a nationwide campaign for higher education.

See a database of collective bargaining and union-related legislation, maintained by the National Conference of State Legislators.

Attack on Public Employees

Extraordinarily, governors and legislatures in a number of states are using the economic recession as an excuse to attack working people and unions--including many faculty and academic professionals at public institutions. Details vary from state to state, but pieces of legislation that have been introduced (and in some cases, passed and signed) seek to

  • undermine the fiscal solvency of unions by forbidding payroll deduction of union dues and forbidding agency fee provisions,
  • drastically reduce the number of topics on which faculty may bargain collectively,
  • cap the amount a public employer is allowed to pay towards an employee’s health insurance plan, regardless of the employer’s ability to pay,
  • require unions to hold recertification votes yearly--so they are under constant threat of dissolution,
  • require unions to renegotiate contracts--a time-consuming process-- every single year, or
  • prohibit collective bargaining for public employees entirely.