Effects of Unionization on Graduate Student Employees: Faculty-Student Relations, Academic Freedom, and Pay

Posted: 27 Apr 2013

See all articles by Sean E. Rogers

Sean E. Rogers

New Mexico State University - Department of Management & General Business

Adrienne E. Eaton

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Paula B. Voos

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Labor Program

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

In cases involving unionization of graduate student research and teaching assistants at private U.S. universities, the National Labor Relations Board has, at times, denied collective bargaining rights on the presumption that unionization would harm faculty-student relations and academic freedom. Using survey data collected from PhD students in five academic disciplines across eight public U.S. universities, the authors compare represented and non-represented graduate student employees in terms of faculty-student relations, academic freedom, and pay. Unionization does not have the presumed negative effect on student outcomes, and in some cases has a positive effect. Union-represented graduate student employees report higher levels of personal and professional support, unionized graduate student employees fare better on pay, and unionized and nonunionized students report similar perceptions of academic freedom. These findings suggest that potential harm to faculty-student relationships and academic freedom should not continue to serve as bases for the denial of collective bargaining rights to graduate student employees.

Keywords: unionization of graduate students, National Labor Relations Board, professional support

JEL Classification: J44, J51

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Sean E. and Eaton, Adrienne E. and Voos, Paula B., Effects of Unionization on Graduate Student Employees: Faculty-Student Relations, Academic Freedom, and Pay (April 1, 2013). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 66, No. 2, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2256651

Sean E. Rogers (Contact Author)

New Mexico State University - Department of Management & General Business ( email )

United States

Adrienne E. Eaton

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey ( email )

50 Labor Center Way
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States
(848)932-8561 (Phone)
(732)932-8677 (Fax)

Paula B. Voos

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Labor Program ( email )

50 Labor Center Way
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States
732-932-1748 (Phone)
732-932-8677 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
309
PlumX Metrics