Florida needs a faculty union


Published: Thursday, April 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at 10:56 p.m.

As a senior at the University of Florida and a member of Plumber's and Pipe Fitter's Local Union 234, I wasn't surprised that UF's new president has decided he didn't want to recognize the faculty union, United Faculty of Florida. His logic was that universities he would like UF to emulate worked better without unions.

I'm not sure which universities he was referring to, but UF is a public institution and not private like the University of Miami or other "silver spoon" universities.

Can't we just be who we are and maybe set an example that other public universities would want to emulate by treating our faculty with respect and allowing them to bargain collectively? That used to be the American way.

I have no problem with my professors wanting to be represented by a union. Unions are those withering institutions that helped build a middle class that could afford to send their children to college. Unions are a big part of the reason the university exists today. The only reason many UF students are in college is because of the "trickle down" benefits their parents enjoyed thanks to their parents and grandparents walking picket lines and occasionally getting their heads cracked open years ago.

You may have heard the saying: Unions, those folks who brought you the weekend.

UF can attract and retain quality instructors by allowing collective bargaining. It is the right thing to do. President Machen should reconsider his decision and recognize United Faculty of Florida.

Chuck Larsen,

Gainesville

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