solidarity across unions

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bowling Green: Police profiling targeted at march "'Reason not race' and 'Stop all the hate' were chanted by a group of students who marched from the free speech area at the Union to the campus police department yesterday afternoon"
Temps Lose Bargaining Rights Won In 2000 "Temporary workers will no longer be able to bargain for job benefits as part of a unit with permanent employees, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled, reversing a Clinton-era precedent."

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Where the Elite Teach, It's Still a Man's World (Subscription required, but check this out.) "The core problem facing women who want to advance in academe appears to be at research universities. The higher up the academic-prestige ladder a university is, the fewer women it usually has in tenured faculty positions. Research released this year shows that while the nation is doing a good job of turning out women with research doctorates, the top 50 institutions in research spending are not doing such a good job of hiring them."

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Miller puts UAW label in beer ad "This week, Miller launched a regional ad campaign that quotes fictitious wording from a UAW labor contract that requires members to choose Miller Lite over other brands."
Get your union-made, justice-friendly greeting and holiday cards at the Northland Poster Collective!
Inland Southern California: Colleges look to part-time help "La Valle, 42, is among what some higher-education experts see as the professor of the future: a part-time lecturer who doesn't receive the money, benefits or other perks of full-time, tenured faculty."
Colombian Labor Leaders-An Endangered Species "Miguel is a high school Social studies teacher and a teacher’s union leader in the department of Cauca, Colombia. The day I met him, he was at a Colombia Teach-in at the SOA Watch Event. The T-shirt he was wearing caught my eye first. It had a statement on the front about Colombian Union Leaders being endangered and on his back, between the shoulder blades, was a bull’s-eye."

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Michigan: Lecturers say U-M failing to honor contract "The lecturers' union at the University of Michigan, which negotiated its first contract after a one-day strike earlier this year, is now claiming that the university is not living up to its end of the deal."
Harvard: Employee Alleges Discrimination "Over two dozen members of the Harvard community gathered in Harvard Square yesterday to show solidarity for Sarah A. Thomas, an employee in the Holyoke Center who alleged her supervisor has unfairly discriminated against her since he took the post in April"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Interview with Henry Giroux "I think that many universities in the United States are being undermined by both their increasing alliance with corporate values and interests, on the one hand, and the equally dangerous attack on academic freedom, on the other hand..."
Researchers vulnerable to outside pressure, report says "Clinical faculty -- the thousands of Canadian researchers and physicians who split their time between universities and hospitals -- are woefully lacking in job security and so vulnerable to outside pressure that their ability to do good research is compromised, a new report says."
AAUP Supports Graduate Student Rights "Meeting in Washington D.C., the national Council of the American Association of University Professors adopted a resolution supporting the right of graduate students to organize for collective bargaining. Recognizing that graduate students work as graduate assistants, teaching assistants and research assistants, thereby assuming the role of employees in their institutions, the Association supported their right to form unions and to choose a collective bargaining agent."
Virginia: Campus Debate on Sexual Assault Policy Continues "Disturbing as it may seem, the approximate 300 to 400 students standing silent may have a better understanding of the sexual assault epidemic than the administration. It is true: statistically, one in four college women will be subjected to attempted or actual rape."
Columbia U: Students to Protest Inquiry of Faculty "Dozens of furious Columbia University students agreed last night to wage a campaign of protest against the school's decision to investigate complaints against faculty members accused of intimidating students."
Letter: Extra Expenses for Graduate Students "As a graduate teaching assistant, I was glad to read about the introduction of the new American Federation of Teachers standards ('Faculty Union Calls for Better Treatment of Graduate Assistants,' The Chronicle, October 22). Piper Fogg, your reporter, provides a good prospective on the new standards as they are written, but I feel that the standards address some issues only indirectly."
NCSCBHEP Conference on Collective Bargaining in Higher Education The National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions (NCSCBHEP) will hold its 32nd National Conference, "The Future of Academic Work and Collective Bargaining," on March 17, 18 and 19, 2005 in New York City. See for conference program.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Renowned Authors Call on Quebecor World to End Harassment, Respect Workers' Rights "Today two dozen prominent authors called on Quebecor World, Inc. to end its campaign of intimidation and fear and to respect the rights of workers who print their books, articles, and essays. The authors, including Barbara Ehrenreich, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Kingsolver, Ben Bagdikian, Judy Rebick, Marilyn French, and many other best-selling and award-winning authors, signed the 'Writers’ Call for Justice at Quebecor World.'"
Michigan: Lecturer's Union Files Complaint with 'U' for Allegedly Firing Lecturers "The first major disagreement between the Lecturers’ Employee Organization and the University since last year’s lecturer walkout has occurred over the alleged firing of 15 employees. LEO has filed grievances saying these lecturers have been improperly fired by the University this year. Most of the complaints have come from lecturers on the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses, with a few from the Flint campus."

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Labor Notes Issues Revised Troublemaker's Handbook "A completely new update to the first edition, this unique resource of organizing and leadership lessons, tactics, and strategies is a collaboration of over 70 authors and hundreds of activists. No matter how seasoned an activist you are, this book will show you new ways to fight back where you work and win!" [This is a great book! -- Jon and Mark]
Kansas University TA union gearing up for negotiations "The three-year contract between KU and the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition, the union representing KU's approximately 900 teaching assistants, expires in October 2005. Union officials say they are hoping to gain ground on salary and benefits, but are not ready to talk about details."
Chicago Tribune: No talks slated in university walkout "More than 500 faculty and staff members at Northeastern Illinois University went on strike Friday, disrupting class for some of the campus' 12,000 students and sending professors to the picket lines for the first time since 1968."
The New York Times: Forced to Work Off the Clock, Some Fight Back "Workers at hair salons, supermarkets, restaurants, discount stores, call centers, car washes and other businesses who have murmured only to one another about off-the-clock work are now speaking up and documenting the illegal practice."

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Vanderbilt: Negotiations Resume Admist Wage Rallies "Vanderbilt University and the Laborer's International Union of North America (LIUNA), who represents a portion of Vanderbilt's staff--notably its lower-paid workers--recently extended the Nov. 15 deadline for negotiating wages indefinitely. It is unclear whether this is owed to the efforts of the student organization Living Income for Vanderbilt Employees."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Graduate Students Make Waves with Vote Analysis "Internet buzz that perhaps the exit polls were correct and the actual returns might be flawed grew louder this week when sociology graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley went public with an analysis arguing that Florida results in counties using electronic ballots differed from historical voting patterns." The report is online at

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Michigan Daily: Transgender community speaks out to increase visibility The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held on campus this weekend, putting a human face to a group that is often largely invisible. 'When people don’t know what your gender is, you become an it. … You are no longer human,' said André A. Wilson, graduate student in the College of Architecture and lead negotiator for the Graduate Employee Organization."
Florida: Gay Students Protest Treatment At UNF "Gay, lesbian, and bisexual students converged on the University of North Florida campus with signs saying they've been the victims of blatant discrimination and they want to put a stop to it. The students said that harassment has increased since Student Body President Jerry Waterson refused to approve funding for the PRIDE group on campus."
Chicago Trib: Northeastern Illinois faces strike by faculty and staff "More than 500 faculty and staff members at Northeastern Illinois University are preparing to walk off the job on Friday in a contract dispute that centers on workload and salary."
Virginia: Students stage silent protest "What began as an e-mail to 15 students calling for a response to the University's sexual assault policy turned into a silent crowd of hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered on Grounds yesterday to call for changes in a system that organizers termed inadequate at responding to and preventing sexual assault."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tufts: Grad student community struggles with politics of TA unionization "Pro-union graduate students are not changing their approach to grad student work conditions despite an unfavorable ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) concerning graduate student unionizations.... Joe Ramsey, a Ph.D. student and organizer for the Association of Student Employees at Tufts (ASET), said isolated actions taken by the administration to improve student life do not always constitute a comprehensive improvement for the graduate student community."
GEO/UMass Family Bargaining Update "On Thursday November 18th GEO and the University will be presenting proposals about our health care plans and presenting evidence about family issues if time allows. This will be a very important bargaining session. GEO is determined to make progress in gaining a fair contract but we need to let the University know how important affordable health care is to grad employees!"
Virginia: Grad Students not Monks and Nuns "In a recent article published in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Peter Brunjes, associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, was quoted as saying, 'Part of being a graduate student is living kind of a cloistered life, not making much money and thinking big thoughts.' ....But we are not monks or nuns meditating in a monastery. We are teachers, researchers and workers."
UCLA: Students to protest fee increases "Students from across the state will come to UCLA this week to lobby the University of California Board of Regents, protest against fee increases and take off their shirts."
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Students threaten action backing worker demands Students at UC Santa Cruz marched into labor talks Wednesday and threatened to shut down the UC system unless workers get a fair contract....Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, representing the Graduate Student Association, warned that teaching assistants would not cross picket lines. 'There will be no peace and quiet from us until there is justice,' she said."
American Institute of Physics: Trends in First-Year Graduate Physics & Astronomy Students "In 2003, the number of first-year physics and astronomy graduate students reached the highest level since 1994, according to a report by the American Institute of Physics' Statistical Research Center. The October 2004 report also highlights an upturn in the number of US citizens who are starting graduate school in physics and astronomy, while the numbers of students from China and India continue to grow as well."
UNC: Grad Students Criticize Possible Donation "The prospect of a multimillion-dollar donation to beef up UNC's Western studies offerings has some faculty and students skittish about the benefactor: a foundation with ties to a watchdog group that routinely criticizes the university....As a result....the Graduate and Professional Student Federation approved a resolution this week urging the university to reject [the] money...The resolution reads in part that the Pope Center's criticisms 'work to create a climate hostile to academic freedom for instructors.'"
Michigan: Student board examines 'U' budget "Midway through its first year of existence, a groundbreaking student committee is working to understand the complexities of the University’s budget....The board met for the first time in September, and has met every three weeks since, primarily to talk about the Student Affairs budget....Students will spend most of this term’s meetings gaining a fuller understanding of the budget’s intricacies, Harper said. Then, next term, members will give input on the budget based on the emerging concerns of students."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Minnesota Daily: Coke invests millions at U "The drinks of choice on campus — or rather the only choices — are Coca-Cola products. The University has a contract with Coca-Cola requiring that no other soft drink products be sold on any University property. As part of the contract, the University has already received $21 million from Coca-Cola, said Leslie Bowman, the director of the University Dining Services Contract Administration."
Detroit Free Press: University bosses in the $500,000 club "Seventeen presidents of public universities and university systems will earn more than $500,000 this year, up from 12 last year and six the year before, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's compensation survey to be released today."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

California: UC Can Afford Higher Clerical Wages "Behind closed doors, in a 'fact-finding' process being held by the state of California, irrefutable facts are being presented that show that the University of California can afford to pay its low-level workers better wages."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Michigan: GEO, 'U' Seek New Contract "Two years after holding a walkout, the Graduate Employees’ Organization is back at the table with the University, seeking specific protection of transgender rights, less discrimination toward international students and more childcare subsidies."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

UPenn: Grad union settles unfair labor practice charge "While University officials have not admitted fault, they have agreed to a settlement with Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania over an unfair labor practice charge filed by the would-be graduate student union last February."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 Try using this to "bypass compulsory web registration"
The New York Times: Foreign Enrollment Declines at Universities, Surveys Say (Registration required to read online.) "The number of Chinese students who applied to attend American graduate schools this fall dropped 45 percent compared with fall 2003, according to a survey of its 450 member institutions by the Council of Graduate Schools. Applications from India fell 28 percent, the survey found....The declines represent a troubling turnaround after three decades in which American colleges and universities experienced a boom in the enrollment of foreign students."
Yale: Coalition calls for fund disclosure "Continuing its efforts to foster the University's public disclosure of private equity investments, a coalition of student and graduate student union organizers sent a letter outlining its mission Tuesday to Farallon Capital Management, a firm that privately manages equity capital for Yale and many other college endowments."
UCLA Ousts Taco Bell due to Labor Abuses "The Associated Students of UCLA board of directors voted Friday to end Taco Bell's contract on campus, settling once and for all a nearly yearlong debate over the eatery's place at UCLA....The vote came after almost a year of controversy over allegations that Taco Bell's tomato suppliers were committing labor abuse against tomato pickers in the Immokalee region of Florida."

Monday, November 08, 2004

UMass Dartmouth: Part-time faculty hold protest bake sale fund-raiser "To emphasize their lack of health insurance, part-time faculty at UMass Dartmouth held a bake sale yesterday on the same day that prospective students and their parents toured the campus. The bake sale raised $175, which part-time faculty officials said will be dispersed in the form of $50 grants to uninsured faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. "
Shop Union for the Holidays! "With an array of greeting cards, games, clothes, books and music in stock, The Union Shop is the first stop for activists who want to buy union-made and social-justice oriented holiday gifts for their friends and families. To place orders, visit Holiday shoppers also can give the gift of good jobs by buying union-made presents at the Union Label and Service Trades Department's all-union Internet shopping site Publicity materials also available there."
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Doctoral Student, Scholar, Baby Sitter? (Subscription required to view on-line) "If you find yourself on either side of the equation -- as the graduate-student-turned-baby-sitter or the professor soliciting such services -- here's the first question to ask: Do the interactions and conversations between the student and the professor revolve around children and child-care, at the expense of professional and academic subjects?"
City Colleges teachers approve new contract "Striking teachers at City Colleges overwhelmingly approved a new contract Sunday, ensuring that classes will resume today for the system's 60,000 students. "Highlights of the City Colleges of Chicago union faculty contract: An unchanged workload. A 4 percent a year pay raise, compounding to a 17 percent raise over four years. A near doubling of teachers' insurance payments. A change to counting class size at midterm instead of at the beginning of a semester. An eased workload for nursing instructors, who were receiving four hours of credit for teaching eight hours in hospitals."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Labor Blog on UPenn President Amy Guttman joining the ranks of university union-busters "For those who of us who read and admired her Democratic Education, in which she wrote of the positive contribution of teacher unions to education, this turn of events has to count as a bitter disappointment. If one ascends to such positions of authority in the academy only to join in the corporate mode of fighting any restrictions on the exploitation of graduate student and adjunct labor, what is the point of the whole exercise? Say it ain't so, Amy." See Labor Blog at
City Colleges, faculty union reach a deal "A strike that crippled City Colleges of Chicago for three weeks appears to be over after the faculty union and campus administration announced a settlement Saturday."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

High School Students Camp Out to Protest Direction of Country "BOULDER, Colo. - About 85 students remained holed up inside the library at Boulder High School early Friday, saying they're concerned about the direction the country is headed and refusing to leave until they've met with leaders from the Republican Party."
Boston: College groups taking protest to Governor's house "More than two dozen higher-education activists, students, and staff plan to march to Governor Mitt Romney's Belmont home this morning, demanding pay raises, increased funding for schools, and tuition cuts."
Israel: Graduate Students to Have Grants Taxed "Schools of higher education have suffered a sharp blow, after the Income Tax Office has decided that grants for research students doing advanced degrees will be taxable. The Council for High Education says in response that this will jeopardize all research establishments and could threaten the entire sector"
Editorial: A vital import falls: graduate students "If fewer foreign graduate students come to the United States, it's not just their loss. It's also a loss to the United States - to its intellectual capital, to its competitive edge in science and technology, to its reputation around the world and ultimately to its prosperity....The State Department initiated reforms to reduce delays and paperwork problems. It must do more. University recruiters work hard to offset the nation's blighted image. They must work harder. Foreign intellectual capital is as important in the long run as foreign oil is today."

Friday, November 05, 2004

News Release: University of Pennsylvania Acknowledges it Violated U.S. Labor Law; Graduate Employee Union Wins Redress in Unfair Labor Practices Claim "Philadelphia, PA, November 5, 2004 – Graduate Employees Together – University of Pennsylvania (GET-UP/AFT) won an important victory today when the university’s administration was forced to come to terms over an unfair labor practice claim, filed during GET-UP’s two-day strike in February 2004."
CUPA-HR(College and University Professional Association for Human Resources) and the Department of Labor (DOL) on Research Assistants "The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has clarified for CUPA-HR that it will not assert that an employee/employer relationship exists between graduate research assistants and a higher education institution, consistent with the 1994 Opinion of the Wage and Hour Administrator and the current Wage and Hour Division Field Operations Handbook. DOL also further clarified that the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, which will become effective Monday, August 23, 2004, do not apply to graduate research assistants. "The clarification comes after CUPA-HR sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao on July 27, 2004, requesting clarification of the status of graduate research assistants. (See letter here.) Today CUPA-HR sent a letter to Victoria Lipnic, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employment Standards Administration, stating its understanding of DOL's position and accordingly withdrawing its July 27 letter. (See the letter here.)
The Council of Graduate Schools on Distance Graduate Education "Indeed, there are prophesies that campuses will disappear as learning increasingly becomes a distributed activity. Regardless of their identity as 'places' of learning, universities--and also other corporate entities--now have the capability of better meeting the ever-growing demand by employers and learners alike for continuing, part-time, post-baccalaureate education."
Student Protest and Candlelight Vigil in Chicago "On Wednesday night at 6:30 PM, the students of the City Colleges of Chicago and other groups will hold a candlelight vigil to protest against the administration of the City Colleges of Chicago for its treatment of students and the striking faculty and staff of the Cook County College Teachers Union. The candlelight vigil will be near the 'the Bean' in Millennium Park, just south of Randolph Street on Michigan Avenue"
Fracas in Strike at City Colleges: "More than 100 angry union members and students flooded City Colleges headquarters Thursday, leading to a confrontation with security guards and one arrest."
Former UC Davis lecturers await legal resolution Seven lecturers struggle to stay afloat while negotiations continue "Three years have passed in the legal struggle between former UC Davis lecturers and the university, but the waiting period may still be longer. "[In 2002], the Public Employment Relations Board issued a complaint alleging that the university violated the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act by deciding unilaterally to discontinue the practice of making new post-six-year appointments without giving the lecturers the opportunity to negotiate."
Foreign grad student enrollment in U.S. slips again "A new survey indicates the number of foreign graduate students newly enrolling at American universities is down 6 percent this year, the third straight decline after a decade of growth. Educators worry America's position as the leader in higher education is eroding."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Virginia: Rising fees weigh down grad students "A small group of grad students at the University of Virginia say the combination of rising research fees and health insurance costs is delaying their doctoral degrees and hampering them financially....[They] are connected with UVa’s Graduate Labor Union, a group that has asked that the university disconnect the increase in research fees from raises in tuition."

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.