Phi Beta Cons

Unions and Universities

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article (subscriber site) about the failed attempt to compel New York University to engage in collective bargaining with a union representing TAs.


 NYU has decided that it just does not want to engage in collective bargaining and a decision by the National Labor Relations Board has upheld its freedom of contract. (Unfortunately, this is a loophole — most employers are compelled to “bargain in good faith” if a union obtains majority support in a bargaining unit; just saying “no” isn’t an option.) Naturally, Big Labor is furious and is pulling out all the stops in an effort to force NYU’s hand.


That isn’t necessarily bad. In a free society, employers are at liberty to decline to bargain with anyone, but others are equally at liberty to use any peaceful tactics to convince them that they’d be better off if they consented to bargain. What is troubling here is the length to which the unions are willing to go. Quoting from the article, “if the university maintains its position, the union will contact all AFT high school guidance counselors on the East Coast and tell them to advise students against attending the university because of its labor dispute.”


So in the name of labor solidarity, guidance counselors are supposed to tell students not to apply to NYU even though it would be an excellent choice for them?  Ethically, that reeks.

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