Competitive Unionism: Good, Bad, or Indifferent for Contigent Faculty?

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Joe Berry


In this article I will examine the various arguments that have been made for and against union competition in higher education from the point of view of contingent faculty in particular and will include examples of how this competition has affected faculty. Drawing from parallel experiences in other labor sectors, I make the argument that the debate on competitive (or dual) unionism is largely misplaced and that a new analysis needs to focus on how any tactic or strategy serves contingent faculty’s need for a democratic, social-movement unionism. I conclude with an argument for what has been called the inside-outside strategy, working within existing larger groups, but also building independent formations of specifically contingent faculty.

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