Governance, professors as workers, and solidarity

Faculty on Strike.” Lennard Davis & Walter Benn Michaels. Jacobin: a magazine of culture and polemic (Feb 14 2014): “On February 18, the tenure track and non-tenure track faculty who make up the University of Illinois-Chicago faculty union UICUF Local 6456 will walk out of the classroom and onto the picket line for a two-day strike.” Issues include salaries and governance:

To call shared governance real governance is like saying your dog has an equal say in how your household is run because sometimes when he whines he gets fed.

But are professors really workers?  When we were organizing, the administration kept telling us we weren’t — we were professionals. And, in fact, at UIC, we belong to the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which does indeed describe itself as a “Union of Professionals.” If you’ve done any work on the history of professionalization, you know that one of the original points of the whole concept of the professional — as it applied to ministers, doctors, lawyers and professors — was to distinguish them from workers….

But what we’ve all begun to realize is that, whatever it meant in the late 19th and early 20th century, in the 21st century that distinction is pure ideology. Professionals are workers — and professors are workers….

… the Administration has been helpful, treating us as badly at the bargaining table as they treat UIC’s other unions.

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