Because I work at a nonunionized, midsized*, rural institution:
Full-time instructors at regional public universities earn an average of about $21,000, or nearly 25 percent, more in pay and benefits annually if they belong to a union, concludes a groundbreaking new study of compensation at such institutions.
The location and size of the employer also makes a big difference. Those in larger suburban public universities, the highest-paying category of institutions studied, earned an average of nearly $17,000, or 20 percent, more in pay and benefits annually than those at midsize rural institutions, the lowest-paying category.
Such pay gaps become even larger when all three factors — location, size, and union status — are considered together. Unionized instructors at larger suburban institutions earn an average of about $40,000, or 50 percent, more than their nonunionized peers at midsize rural institutions, the study found.
Past research on faculty earnings at public universities has offered a distorted picture by lumping in data from state flagships and from regional institutions, argues a paper summarizing the study’s findings.
Given how the nation’s 390 public regional universities differ from flagships in their missions, student populations, and faculty workloads, they "deserve analysis in their own right," says the paper, presented in New York on Sunday at the annual conference of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions.
Of course, I'm not underpaid by $40,000 (but I might could make more money in the big city). The study uses a simple comparison of means for the statistical analysis. My guess is that some regression analysis would chip away at the raw differences as the initial sorting of professors depends on quality (the most promising graduate students tend to take the higher wage offers and end up working at unionized, large suburban institutions). But, still, the raw data is suggestive.
*Size, I think, is based on the number of graduate degrees awarded and by that definition we are not large (although I don't think the paper makes it clear).