When I first heard that South Dakota Representative Mark Mickelson was going to bring a bill to the legislature to end collective bargaining at SD public universities, I was struck by two statements in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader article.
It says, “He said professors weren't willing enough to teach courses on weekends or weeknights due to terms of their contracts, prompting his frustration.” Were the faculty unwilling to teach on weekends or weeknights or did they tell him that he couldn’t force them to teach on weeknights and weekends? I view those as two different situations. I also noticed that it said they “weren’t willing enough,” which, to me, means that it wasn’t their first choice. As a faculty member, it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice either. However, I can tell Mr. Mickelson that there are LOTS of faculty who WORK on weeknights and weekends already, even if they aren’t teaching classes at those times.
The other statement in the article that bothered me was “Something needs to change, these people need to be shaken up a little bit," Mickelson said. What have “these people” (faculty) done that needs shaking up? Is it because we don’t really want to teach on weeknights or weekends?
Neither of the reasons expressed by Mickelson in the article are legitimate concerns to end collective bargaining. We have a hard enough time recruiting faculty to South Dakota, we don’t need a lack of collective bargaining to be another barrier to faculty recruitment and retention.
When I heard that Governor Dennis Daugaard was supportive of Mickelson’s bill, I was not completely surprised. What did surprise me was the following statement in the Associated Press article, “Daugaard, a Republican, says he worries that unionization in some cases has made it difficult for administrators to retain certain employees and discipline others who need it.” How would unionization make it difficult to retain employees? Did Daugaard misspeak and mean to say that it has “made it difficult to fire certain employees”?