IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY — The formation of a faculty labor union isn’t in the cards for Iowa State in the near future, officials said.
“Management deserves the union it gets,” said Max Wortman, president-elect of the ISU Faculty Senate. “If the faculty does not have one, then it really does not have any major problems with the central administration.”
Wortman said Iowa State is taking care of its faculty; and as a result, a unionized labor organization is not necessary.
“The faculty is fairly conservative,” he said. “I have heard little or no information about a union in the 13 years that I’ve been here.”
He also said he is not aware of any attempts ever being made by the university to form a faculty labor union.
Several things would have to occur for the university to consider implementing a union. Wortman, distinguished professor of management, said there are two main concerns: whether the central government was handling grievance problems fairly and whether there would be a pay increase for three to four years.
Christie Pope, president of the ISU Faculty Senate, agreed that there has not been a great interest in a union on campus. She said that if at some point there was a continually large pay difference, the chance would be more likely.
“Unions provide a way for faculty to bring leverage to their particular interests; however there is always a threat of a strike,” said Pope, associate professor of history.
Some members of the faculty have differing opinions about a labor union, but share a somewhat disgruntled view of the Faculty Senate.
“It’s unfortunate when we have to go to a union,” said Virginia Allen, associate professor of English. “A union moves us from a class of professionals to laborers, and we want to be treated as professionals.”
Allen also said the ISU faculty doesn’t have to follow the many rules and regulations a union would enforce.
To be in favor of a union, the administration would have to become increasingly insensitive to faculty needs, she said.
However, Carl Mize, associate professor of forestry, said he thinks that more faculty are starting to lean towards unionization. Mize said the Faculty Senate is more concerned with administration than faculty at times.
Allen is concerned that the Faculty Senate is not serving the needs of the faculty.
“The Faculty Senate wants to speak on behalf of the faculty without consulting the faculty,” Allen said. “They have not been acting in the faculty’s best interest and are being too sensitive to the wishes of the administration.”
Pope said she believes the Faculty Senate does represent the needs of faculty members.
“The Faculty Senate is very strongly and energetically working on behalf of the faculty,” Pope said.
She said the concerns are more a result of failure in the past to publicize what the Faculty Senate has done. Pope said she hopes to increase faculty awareness by allowing them to send e-mail questions to the Faculty Senate that will be answered by Provost Rollin Richmond.
Since there is not a union, salary increases are determined by departmental heads, said Alicia Carriquiry, Ex-Officio of the Welfare and Benefits Committee in the Faculty Senate.
Carriquiry said the increases depend upon an amount allotted to the university for salary increases by the Iowa Legislature.
The average pay increase for faculty is 3.74 percent, Carriquiry said.
Because the boost in cash is based upon things such as performance and evaluations in each department, she said, some faculty could receive either a much greater or a much smaller increase in their pay.