The War on Conservative Teachers

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is having considerable success in its drive to organize American college and university faculty members.  Often the Union is able to gain a toehold at a university by organizing a portion of the faculty.  The Union will hold multiple elections, and after each vote it loses winnow out those segments of the faculty who voted against having to join a union, until it comes up with a subset of the faculty who vote to turn the university into a Union Shop.

At the George Washington University, part-time faculty members were attracted by the promise of increased compensation and work rules that limited the University’s ability to terminate them for poor performance.  The SEIU, by excluding all others employed by the University, was able to win a certification election that made the Union the sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative of George Washington’s part-time faculty.

The contract that the University signed with the SEIU requires that all part-time faculty members must either voluntarily join the Union or, as a condition of continued employment, pay to the Union each month an agency fee (a service charge as a contribution toward the cost of administering the contract and for representation by the Union).  The agency fee is set by the Union, and the current fee for George Washington University faculty is 79% of the monthly Union dues.

There are some exceptions to the requirement to pay the Union an agency fee.  Judges, diplomats, presidential appointees, and employees of the IMF are not required to join the Union or pay the SEIU an agency fee.  However, the only hope a part-time faculty member who is a Conservative has of avoiding the requirement to pay the agency fee is to qualify under the conflict of interest exemption.  But for all practical purposes that is a forlorn hope since the exemption is very narrowly drawn.

Only “faculty members who affirm, through a written statement, that they or their firm provide representation to clients in their relationship with the Service Employees International Union, or its affiliated bodies, and that financial support of the Union will have a material adverse impact on that client relationship, because of an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest” are exempted from the requirement to pay the Union agency fees.

As a practical matter, a Conservative faculty member has to either stop teaching or pay money to support a radical left wing organization.  Some may pay the agency fees; most will not, but either way either way the SEIU wins.  Even sadder is the reality that distinguished Conservatives even if they were available to teach a course at George Washington would be unwilling to do so because of the requirement to pay the SEIU an agency fee.

As the SEIU continues to rack up organizing successes, the opportunities will disappear for someone like Newt Gingrich to teach a course in American History or David Horowitz to teach a seminar on freedom of the press.  Conservative voices, already in short supply, will no longer be heard on American campuses.  If the SEIU is successful in driving Conservative faculty members out of our colleges and universities, our institutions of higher learning will increasingly become little more than indoctrination centers for liberal ideologies.  Freedom of thought and expression, already under attack, will vanish, and what was once the finest system of higher education in the world will, thanks to the SEIU, continue to decline.

  • budturgeon

    TIt looks more and more like the only way to beat these union thugs will be to offer a now cost downloadable education on any subject…screw union thugs.

  • hippiepooter

    Isn't this an overreaction? If an organisation, rightly or wrongly, has acheived representation rights for employees, and all employees benefit from that representation, isn't it only fair that each employee is required to pay their fair shre of the cost of that representation?

    If this is the deal, this is the deal. It doesn't stop anyone from teaching. If you choose not to pay this 'agency fee' when those are the terms of employment for all, it is you who excludes yourself from the employment.

    Personally, what I would prefer to see is a commitee of employees representative bodies that elect negotiators on behalf of all employess. That way noone has to pay towards an organisation whose politics they dont like. I dont know what the legal position on this 'closed shop' arrangement is, but given the alternative it certainly does seem unfair.

    • kafir4life

      I've been in three unions in my working life (all were required). All absolutely useless, and self serving. I'm not in a union now, and I do my due diligence to avoid products and services provided by union shops. Obviously, it's not always possible. I have no problem with union members. Most of them are hard working people. I don't want my hard earned money used to fund the demonicrats.
      I negotiate my own salary now, and make over 5x my last union wage.

    • yintercept

      "it is you who excludes yourself from the employment. "

      So, by having a set of ideas, one self-excludes themselves from the University.

      This methodology excludes those of us who've looked at the widespread abuses by corrupt unions and have concluded that it's the collectivization process leading workers to unions and not their freedoms … which was the point of the argument. The process removes a set of ideas from the school.

  • bubba4

    "At the George Washington University, part-time faculty members were attracted by the promise of increased compensation and work rules that limited the University’s ability to terminate them for poor performance. "

    Well of course…why else would anyone want to be in a Union except to cover their own inadequacy….and to think these poor performing teachers want more compensation…what a weak and terrible bunch. LOL.

    "The contract that the University signed"

    is where?…how about a link? How weak is the new "blog post" format? All the linkable, quotable spin without the pesky journalistic requirements.

    "The agency fee is set by the Union, and the current fee for George Washington University faculty is 79% of the monthly Union dues."

    Which is how much?

  • Joinamerica

    Unions are about adult jobs and have no interest in improving the business which employs their members. There was a time when unions were necessary. By their disinterest in what is in the long term interest of their members (i.e. maintaining a healthy business that can afford to continue to employ them) the unions have become a negative force in this country. (The teachers' unions are the worst for destroying the host.) Also a good portion of union members do not support the one note (progressiveness) of the union bosses. Most unions have been commandeered by leftists using the same tactics described in this article. And once in power, the bosses do not let go. Look on the SEIU website to see the far left groups with which they gladly align themselves. One man, one vote, one time. These are very bad people.

  • Rifleman

    The unions quit serving any useful or beneficial purpose after OSHA and the minimum wage were instituted. Now they are just a suicidal racket. Government employee unions should be re-outlawed, because they constitute a conflict of interest to themselves, elected officials, and the public they are supposed to serve. It's also hypocritical, redundant, and self-serving for the same government that requires its' own employees to unionize to protect themselves from it, along with those same union employees to be negotiating, regulating, or adjudicating private labor disputes.

  • Tamara

    From healthcare as well. I mean after all if someone can kill 100 people and no one files a complaint ….it makes "life" for progressive radical healthcare workers so much easier.

  • Steve

    It's a free country. If you don't want to work where there's a union, don't. Stop whining & exercise your free choice in the market.

    • catie

      Well that will keep all conservatives out of the university setting and thus achieve the goals of yourself, obambi and the seiu. I hope you're pleased with yourselves.

    • Ageofreason

      You're partly right. It was a free country when companies without unions said, "This is a non-union company. If you don't like it, don't work here. but the union thugs beat up people, and planted bombs, and killed people, and "Progressives" in government answered the call, and made it impossible to keep unions out. Your comment, Steve-o, is just plan stupid.

  • mags

    Well, if Newt Gingrich thinks it's more important to save $79 than to promote the Constitutional foundations of our country, I guess we are all doomed any way so why bother? These academic type of unions are worthless, I belonged to one for 6 years, and they hindered both my ability to increase my salary and move upwards. They are the BIGGEST SCAMS next to the "green"Global Scamming that universities propagandize in search for Government grants (free money)They prey upon stunted people that consider themselves part of an intellectual "collective" because they are too afraid or too lazy to stand up as individuals and compete for their slice of the American pie. They rather have a tiny slice handed to them by the unions than to WORK for a slice that would make them happy and successful.

  • USMCSniper

    Leftists of all persuasions are all hard core unemployables who always band together in groups to get by force and intimidation what they cannot earn by ability and merit.

  • GalileoOnTheMoon

    Conservatives should found their own universities

  • Jeanene Ramseur

    Just a small smiler to spread the good words and thank you for your great site

    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. :)