THE NEW YORK TIMES: OPINIONATOR, MARCH 21, 2011
We’re All Badgers Now
By STANLEY FISH
A conversation about unionization and higher education between Stanley Fish and Walter Benn Michaels, professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
SF: In over 35 years of friendship and conversation, Walter Michaels and I have disagreed on only two things, and one of them was faculty and graduate student unionization. He has always been for and I had always been against. I say “had” because I recently flipped and what flipped me, pure and simple, was Wisconsin.
When I think about the reasons (too honorific a word) for my previous posture I become embarrassed. They are by and large the reasons rehearsed and apparently approved by Naomi Schaefer Riley in her recent op-ed piece “Why unions hurt higher education” (USA Today). The big reason was the feeling — hardly thought through sufficiently to be called a conviction — that someone with an advanced degree and scholarly publications should not be in the same category as factory workers with lunch boxes and hard hats. As Riley
points out, even the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) used to be opposed to unionization because of “the commonly held belief that universities were not corporations and faculty were not employees.” . . .