solidarity across unions

Friday, December 26, 2003

GET-UP MEETS WITH PENN PRESIDENT: Ballots Still Uncounted 

December 18, 2003 Members of GET-UP’s leadership met yesterday with University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin in an hour-long closed door session. The sides exchanged views on the current impasse over the impounded ballots from the February 2003 union election held by the National Labor Relations Board... President Rodin stated the University’s position that Penn is “philosophically opposed” to considering graduate student instructors as employees. Rodin reiterated that the University has no intention of dropping the appeal and letting the votes be counted... GET-UP's members are encouraged by the administration’s new commitment to dialogue. However, they remain frustrated that the University continues to adhere to its position of denying Penn’s graduate employee their democratic and human right to have their votes counted and bargain a contract. Via GET-UP home page, GetUpOnline.org

Sunday, December 21, 2003

GEU at MSU 

via website Yea! GEU at MSU has a weblog thingy, that has syndication features, which allow me and anyother person to subscribe to their site for new changes! yea!

PERC RULES RAs HAVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS 

On December 17th, PERC (the state labor board) rejected the University’s argument that Research Assistants are not employees with collective bargaining rights under the law. via GSEAC/UAW Home Page

Friday, December 12, 2003

USLAW: Invitation to Affiliate 

Invitation for CGEU to become involved with this group. U.S. Labor Against the War:

Milwaukee Graduate Assistants File Complaint Against Pick-a-Prof 

MGAA alleges that UWM violated the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when it released the grading history and student evaluations of its teaching assistants to an online entity called Pick-a-Prof via AFT

Thursday, December 11, 2003

GET-UP set to meet with Rodin about labor union 

"After months of rallies and continued organization, University President Judith Rodin has scheduled a meeting with the Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania to discuss the issues surrounding unionization." via DailyPennsylvanian.com

UAW Local 2322 representing 3,500 workers in Western Massachusetts. 

UMass RAs voting to ratify first contract in nation for student advisors For Immediate Release. Contact: James A.W. Shaw, UAW Local 2322 President, (413) 222-3775 AMHERST, Mass. (December 10, 2003)-Today and tomorrow, Resident Assistants at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will vote whether to ratify the first-ever union contract for RAs. If RAs approve the agreement, it will be the first time in the country that RAs have negotiated a union contract. The settlement is especially significant given the university's fierce opposition while RAs were organizing. This unit of RAs had already made history by becoming the first RAs in the country to form a union. "This is a truly historic agreement," said James A.W. Shaw, president of UAW Local 2322, the union to which the RAs now belong. "Student workers, just like all workers, have important workplace concerns that are best addressed through collective bargaining. This is a great contract that improves and protects the working conditions of RAs. This contract proves the value of a union not just for RAs, but for all workers." "We are excited to reach this point. This has been a long and hard campaign," said Nick Demas, an RA who helped bargain the tentative agreement. "It is truly rewarding to see our long campaign pay off with real improvements to the RA position." There are 360 RAs, who are students that live and work in the dorms counseling students and maintaining order. Recently, a committee of RAs working with UAW Local 2322 settled a tentative contract with university negotiators that calls for wage increases of about 31% over the life of the two-year contract. RAs currently earn $50.29 per week; for the 2003-2004 academic year, that will be raised to $61.76 per week and raised again in 2004-2005 to $64.71 for first-year RAs and $66.18 for returning RAs. The compensation package also includes free housing and some fee waivers. "This is a strong and fair compensation package that better reflects the value of the work we do," said Mike Salamone, an RA who also served on the bargaining committee. The contract also includes a binding grievance/arbitration procedure, improved parking privileges, guaranteed quality working conditions, as well as mechanisms to raise and resolve problems. The contract will expire on June 30, 2005. "When we formed a union, the university threatened to take away many things from RAs," said Bill Knaus, an RA and bargaining team member, "but we were able to at least preserve our working conditions, and improve on many. It is important for us to know that we are working under a contract that is legally binding. We encourage RAs across the country to follow our lead. Joining a union is worth it." The campaign to unionize RAs began in February 2001, and by April 2001, RAs had petitioned the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission for a union election. The university opposed the RAs' efforts, and forced hearings to determine whether RAs are employees with the right to organize. The MLRC determined in January 2002 that RAs indeed have the right to organize. On March 5, 2002 RAs voted to form a union, but the university refused to bargain, leading to a rancorous spring of union demonstrations, including one sit-in that led to 35 arrests. By summer of 2002, however, the parties had agreed to bargain. Negotiations began in November, and concluded recently. UAW Local 2322 representing 3,500 workers in Western Massachusetts.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Graduate assistants protest at Rutgers for higher salaries 

Contending Rutgers University does not pay its teaching assistants a living wage, some 65 graduate students and a handful of sympathetic professors marched along College Avenue to Old Queens on Thursday to demand a favorable new contract.

Students, unions rally for justice 

They protest budget actions Economic injustice to state employees and university students should be the focus of the state Legislature, said student and union leaders rallying on the Capitol steps Friday evening.

A Woman’s Place is in her Union. 

“Light and Truth at Yale University” March and Speakout on Women in the Academy Wednesday, December 10, 2003 On December 10, members of the Yale community—graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, locals 34 and 35—will join together in an action demonstrating that “A Woman’s Place is in her Union.” GESO will hold its membership meeting at the same time as Local 34 holds its membership meeting. Around 6:30pm, we will all march from College Street to the Women’s Table outside Sterling Memorial Library. Barbara Ehrenreich, award-winning columnist and author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, a New York Times bestseller, will speak briefly on the serious issues women face in the academy. There is a long history of women activists who have fought to make Yale a better, more equitable institution. Lucille Dickess, the first President of local 34, fought for equal pay for equal work in the 1970s and 1980s, and continues to fight for a decent pension after three decades of working at Yale. She’s been known to say: “I was a mother and a wife, but I wasn’t a woman until I became a sister in the union.” Hazel Carby, the only black woman with tenure at Yale, explains how this administration uses junior faculty, particularly women and people of color, to establish the intellectual legitimacy of Yale as a diverse university with a diverse curriculum, but it refuses to value, nurture, or promote these scholars. These issues of fairness, equality, and diversity in our intellectual community will resonate with all members of the Yale community. By participating in this action, we will make visible how collective action can be anti-racist and feminist activism for everyone who is concerned about creating a fair and accessible academy. To review GESO's recent report on diversity, see www.geso.org.

GESO critiques diversity 

Yale Daily News Friday, December 5, 2003 BY PHILIP RUCKER http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=24365 Read "The Few, The Proud" (the GESO report): PDF download GESO released a report on diversity at the Yale Graduate School Thursday that says graduate students are "fighting a stratified system" at the University.

New Contract 

For Immediate Release UAW Local 2865 Membership Overwhelmingly Ratifies New Contract with UC Berkeley - UAW Local 2865 announced today that academic student employees (ASEs) have voted overwhelmingly to ratify the tentative agreement that was reached on Tuesday, December 2 between the UAW and the University of California (UC). The vote was 1,682 in favor and 26 opposed. "We are hopeful that this contract signals a new era of productive and cooperative labor relations between the Union and the University" said Rajan Mehta, a UAW Bargaining Team member from UC Berkeley. Key features of the contract, effective through September 30, 2006, include: All ASEs will receive a 1.5% minimum wage increase effective January 1, 2004, including a retroactive increase for Fall ASEs. Additionally, all ASEs will get a 1.5% general wage increase every time the senate faculty gets a merit increase, and will also receive any additional general wage increase given to the faculty. Graduate student ASEs working at least 25% time will continue to receive a 100% remission of their education, registration, and health fees, despite the sharp increases in student fees and health care costs this year. Any future increases in these fees during the term of the contract will be covered. The rights and benefits of summer session ASEs will be greatly improved, as they will receive near equivalent compensation as ASEs during the academic year, and gain rights that they were previously exempted from, such as workload protections, appointment notification, and appointment security. The Union will be provided access to new employee orientations to inform all ASEs about their rights and benefits under the contract, and all new employees will receive a membership form when they sign other employment forms. UAW Local 2865 represents over 11,000 ASEs working as Teaching Assistants, Readers and Tutors at the eight general teaching campuses of UC. Contact: Rajan Mehta (510) 549-3863

The Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions is a loose-knit coalition of labor unions in the USA and Canada that represents graduate students employed as teachers, researchers, and administrative staff.