Phi Beta Cons

Grad students strike at NYU

A hot topic at NYU has been the strike of grad students when the university decided not to engage in collective bargaining any longer, as the NLRB ruled it did not have to.
As this article explains, the incoming president of the American Association of University Professors, Cary Nelson, feels so strongly about this that he got himself arrested during a rally to support the oppressed workers.
He also wants to galvanize a boycott of NYU, getting like-minded professors to, for example, refuse to serve on NYU tenure review committees. That’s really going to hurt.
Nelson is perfectly free to boycott all he wishes, and to encourage others to do the same. But NYU — and all other employers in the US — ought to have the equal freedom to decline to deal with labor unions. It’s only due to a legal quirk that NYU is not legally compelled to engage in “good faith” bargaining with the grad students’ union, but that’s the correct resolution since mandatory bargaining isn’t really bargaining at all.
If you read the comments, you’ll see that this issue really touches off fireworks with academics.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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