December 15, 2015

Tufts Medical Center in Boston, which is affiliated with Tufts University. Credit: Tufts Medical Center

The move by the Tufts Medical School faculty -- full-time, tenured doctors and researchers, not part-time adjuncts -- to unionize and affiliate with the S.E.I.U. could open a new chapter in the history of organized labor. And it's happening in our own backyard.

WGBH News reporter Adam Reilly explored the implications of the union drive with Karina Meiri, professor of Developmental, Molecular, and Chemical Biology at Tufts Medical School and one of the organizers behind the unionizing effort, and Harvey Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer based in Cambridge, whose practice has made him an expert on power relationships within higher education.

Context is all important. As colleges and universities have become less collegial and more corporate, professional values are seen by many to be at risk.

In a knowledge based economy, does the future of labor—or a slice of that future—sit with highly trained and educated individuals?

The answer has potentially huge implications.

Update: In a statement to The Scrum, a spokesperson for Tufts University said: "Tufts University is aware that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to represent a group of faculty employed at the Tufts University School of Medicine. The University is currently reviewing the matter and will respond appropriately once that review is complete. We value our faculty and the many contributions they make to the School of Medicine."

Tufts, higher ed, higher education, Education, labor, organized labor, unions, union

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