From Ann Althouse comes word the Wisconsin Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) voted last week against seeking state certification as a union for the purpose of collective bargaining.
TAA is the first public employee union known to have held a union certification vote and the first one known to have voted against certification.
Althouse quoted and linked to an article in Inside Higher Ed recounting the vote by the first unionized TA union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, ever to win a contract, which happened in 1970:
Last week, after hours of debate, the union’s members voted not to seek state certification to continue to act as a collective bargaining agent. Union leaders said that the vote was a close one (they declined to reveal the totals), and taken with very mixed feelings by both those seeking to continue state certification and those arguing against. Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union.
Union leaders said that they couldn’t function well if they had to effectively be in a perpetual organizing drive for the annual union votes, and also if they had to pay annual fees to be certified. “Our membership was keenly aware of the sort of resources and energy it would take in order to hold on,” said Adrienne Pagac, co-president of the union and a doctoral student in sociology at Madison.
Althouse points out the UW TAA was a leading force in the protests of Gov. Walker’s collective bargaining limitations last winter.