Sunday, February 24, 2013
Unionization of research-active universities reduces quality
In many professional unions, merit and promotion increases are based on seniority and other considerations rather than on productivity. In a research-active university, this compensation model reduces quality because knowledge generation depends upon diverse faculty expertise across campus and within colleges and departments. Salaries vary substantially among faculty primarily because of external market forces. For a university to have a Business College, for example, it must be prepared to pay faculty enough to attract them away from lucrative employment in the private sector. Values placed on teaching and research output also vary significantly among departments. Faculty unions typically ignore these fundamental differences, as illustrated by the generic, all-encompassing CBAs they produce, and there is no evidence that AFMSU will be any different.
Most of the TT faculty at MSU have research expectations. To be awarded tenure, faculty must be productive in their research and scholarly activities. High tenure standards maintain university standards for scholarship. Typically, tenure decisions are made by committees composed of faculty colleagues with some oversight by the Administration. In the union’s role as “defender of the faculty” from Administration, the union will weaken the tenure process by promoting unproductive faculty through grievance procedures.