I was elated by the action of the university faculty in Wisconsin. Having been active in AAUP and president of our chapter, I felt that it was a weak substitute for a real union. The time to move is now while the momentum is growing! Why can't the faculty of all our universities start moving to form unions if they already haven't? What a tremendous organizing force this could be. The issues are there. The State Universities in particular are being subject to draconian cuts everywhere. Teaching has for the longest time been lowered to something resembling slave labor and grantsmanship elevated to the basis for survival in the system. I fought it all my career and won on my small scale. My salary never matched the grant getters but it was more that had I not fought. I published as much or more than the grant stars without consuming a penny of government money. I helped out on grant projects but only if I thought they were sound science and worth participating in. Read on below and I'll talk about my dream.
Some of the reasons for forming real faculty unions:
To be able to stand in solidarity with organized working people of all kinds.
To stop the charade that somehow faculty have any real say in the management of our universities.
To stand in solidarity with those who think teaching is the main purpose of a university faculty.
To begin to make it possible to win tenure through teaching or non funded research.
To fight to get rid of glass ceilings.
To stop using tuition increases as a way of escaping the responsibility of engaging in this fight. For it is the only way to fight for adequate funding and for aid for needy students.
To fight for real academic freedom. To stop the censorship of fields of study that challenge the system.
I could go on but that seems like a good start. The folks in Wisconsin have done it in the worst climate imaginable. What is stopping anyone from joining in? Each new organizing drive will strengthen the power of all. Solidarity forever!