Dear AAUP Member:
In recent years, American institutions of higher education have begun closing programs that should be part of any serious educational institution’s curricular portfolio. Program closures on the scale we have recently witnessed represent a massive transfer of power from the faculty to the administration over curricular matters that affect the educational missions of institutions, for which the faculty should always bear the primary responsibility.
These developments are addressed in a new draft report issued by the AAUP, The Role of the Faculty in Conditions of Financial Exigency (http://www.aaup.org/report/role-faculty-conditions-financial-exigency).
Increasingly, administrators and governing boards are making budgetary decisions that profoundly affect the curricula and the educational missions of their institutions; rarely are those decisions recognized as decisions about the curriculum, even though the elimination of entire programs of study (ostensibly for financial reasons) has obvious implications for the curricular range and the academic integrity of any university.
This report responds to this state of affairs in two ways: one, by making recommendations intended to ensure the faculty’s primary role with regard to program closures and, two, by proposing revisions to the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure (http://www.aaup.org/report/recommended-institutional-regulations-academic-freedom-and-tenure).
December 18, 2012
Q: What are the right to work laws?
A: On December 11, 2012, the Republican majority in the legislature passed, and
Governor Snyder signed, two right to work laws.
• 2012 Public Act 348 (Senate Bill 116) amends the Labor Mediation Act,
1939 Public Act 176, which covers Michigan private sector employees.
• 2012 Public Act 349 (House Bill 4003) amends the Public Employment
Relations Act (PERA), 1947 Public Act 336, which covers public sector
The amendments in these two laws are basically the same, with some minor
Q: What do the right to work amendments do?
A: Public Acts 348 and 349 remove language that permitted union security clauses
(union shop, agency shop or "fair share" agreements). They provide that
employees may not be required, as a condition of obtaining or retaining
• become or remain a member of a union
• pay union dues, fees, assessments, or other charges or expenses or
provide anything of value to a union, or
• make a charitable contribution in lieu of the above.
This will prohibit union security agreements that require non-members to pay
dues, a service fee or fair share as a condition of continued employment.
A person injured by enforcement of a prohibited union security agreement can
bring a civil action for damages and an injunction, and if successful can receive
reimbursement for their attorneys fees and costs.
Indiana reaction belies pro-Right to Work claims
By Ted Roelofs/Bridge Magazine contributor
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — In the weeks after “Right to Work” became law in Indiana, Michigan-based Android Industries was anointed a poster child for the job growth state officials predicted would flow from the measure.
Company officials insisted it was no accident they picked Indiana to open an automotive plant in suburban Fort Wayne in 2012. It supplies mounted tires for full-sized pickup trucks assembled at an adjacent General Motors plant.
“Recently, Indiana became a right-to-work state and offers us a competitive location and a skilled work force to complement our state of the art technology,” the firm said in a statement in March 2012. “All of these factors went into choosing Indiana as an optimal location.”
But a closer look belies that claim, since Android Industries, in fact, laid plans for the Indiana expansion well before it became law in February 2012.
An official at the plant confirmed as much to a reporter last month.
“Right to Work has nothing do with us being here,” said Jeremy Urshel, listed as human resources generalist for the firm. Another official said the firm signed the contract with GM in November 2011.
Michigan weakens union rights in home of auto industry
Bernie Woodall, Reuters
5:30 PM CST, December 11, 2012
LANSING, Michigan (Reuters) -Michigan enacted a ban on mandatory union membership on Tuesday, dealing a stunning blow to organized labor in the state that is home to U.S. automakers and the symbol of industrial labor in the United States.
As more than 12,000 unionized workers and supporters protested at the Capitol in Lansing, the Republican-led state House of Representatives gave final approval to a pair of "right-to-work" bills covering public- and private-sector unions. Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed the bills into law as soon as they reached his desk, completing in a few days a campaign to make Michigan the 24th U.S. state to prohibit unions from requiring employees to join and contribute dues.
"I view this as an opportunity to stand up for Michigan's workers, to be pro-worker," Snyder told a news conference after he signed the bills.