Protect Union Jobs—Prevent Unit Erosion

June 21, 2019

By Ferd Wulkan, PSU staff

“Unit erosion” isn’t about soil or water. It’s when union jobs, either filled or vacant, are converted to non-unit positions. It’s a problem PSU is investigating and we look to our members for help in identifying when union jobs are taken out of the bargaining unit. There are two reasons why a professional position can legitimately be excluded from the PSU bargaining unit – i.e. not covered by the union contract.

A position could be “managerial.” This does not mean supervisory—there are many supervisors in our unit.
Managerial employees help make high-level policy for the university. The other legitimate reason a position can be non-unit is when it is considered “confidential.” This does not refer to handling sensitive academic or medical records; it means confidential with regard to labor relations. All other professional positions (half-time or more) must be in the PSU bargaining unit.

Management generally prefers to have more positions out of the unit—where employees have fewer rights and administrators can wield power unchecked by collectively bargained rules.

PSU is contesting several significant cases of unit erosion as well as other smaller instances. You can help! If you are aware of a plan to remove a position from the PSU unit, or the removal
has already taken place, please let us know.

If you have questions about unit erosion, please contact


Robert McDowell


Tom Goodkind