Some key takeaways from the NEA Special Report on Professional Pay in Higher Education (with data from NEA HE 2022 Salary Report):
- Full-time faculty represented by unions earned about $5,000 more in 2021 than their peers who work in the same states but don’t belong to unions. The difference is even bigger—a whopping $17,000—between union members and faculty working in states without faculty unions.
- At community colleges specifically, union faculty members earned an additional $18,000 in 2021, or 27 percent more than non-union faculty in the same states. (Over a 25-year career, the difference amounts to an additional $450,000.) At research universities, the union difference was $6,000.
- Like all educators, professors worked harder than ever in 2021, as they pivoted their classes online and attempted to support students who were dealing with all of the traumas of the pandemic. Meanwhile, faculty’s “purchasing power,” a measure of salary corrected for inflation, fell 1.3 percent between 2020 and 2021. In other words, despite their increasing work, faculty members felt like they had less money, not more.