The EMU faculty union is actually a chapter of the American Association of University Professors. We’ve been associated with the AAUP since the union was organized in 1974. But apparently, there is a movement to get out of the AAUP and associate ourselves with the Michigan Education Association. And the AAUP local is obviously concerned. Today, I received a packet of materials in the snail mail from the union about why we should stay with the AAUP and why we shouldn’t get ourselves messed up in the raiding MEA union.
I realize that this stuff is probably not that interesting to people who are not at EMU, but since there are enough EMU folks who stumble across this blog once in a while, I thought I’d post a few thoughts (while I’m watching the Iowa/Wisconsin basketball game):
- I really don’t have any idea what the EMU-AAUP people are talking about. I either haven’t received anything from the MEA or I thought it was junk mail and I threw it away. I haven’t talked to any other faculty (other than my wife) about this yet; did anybody who teaches at EMU get this stuff?
- I think the AAUP makes a reasonably compelling case about why we don’t want to be affiliated with the MEA, which is really more of a union for K-12 teachers. But beyond that…
- … the absolute last thing we ought to do is take a vote for something like this while we’re in the midst of contract negotiations. That’s just dumb.
- One of the things that’s interesting here is that way WAY back, a couple years ago when I was involved more directly with the EMU-AAUP, there were rumors/off-the-record talk about moving over to the MEA. I don’t know exactly what that was all about, but the people who ended up getting thrown out of office (see this post and this post if you’re interested in a version of a recap) were pretty P.O.-ed at the AAUP national for a variety of different reasons. Anyway, I have to wonder if some of these past union folks are behind this MEA deal now.
- Now, having said all that, I’m not entirely sure what we at EMU get by being associated with the AAUP. That’s not a call for dumping the AAUP, certainly not to join the MEA. It’s just an honest question. When I was at Southern Oregon University, there was a faculty union, but it was a self-sustaining thing. The SOU faculty weren’t assoicated with any national or state organization; they were totally local.
I wasn’t paying much attention to these issues when I was at SOU, but the faculty union there seemed to handle things well. Why couldn’t we do that at EMU? Instead of sending our dues off to some national or state organization, why not keep it all local?
- And of course, I once again must wonder about the faculty union in general. The leftist in me is all for the EMU-AAUP and unions in general. But when you sit in on these meetings (as I did for a few months in 2003), well, it makes you think. They say that making laws is like making sausage, an ugly and grisly process that might make you into a vegetarian, and I think that union politicing is about the same.
Of course, I do kinda like a good bratwurst….