solidarity across unions

Friday, December 31, 2004

Nigeria: Smiling Faces in the Ivory Towers "For many years running, there has been persistent face-off between Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) and the Federal Government over funding of tertiary education. This has led to incessant and unwarranted industrial actions in the nation's Ivory towers....The Ivory tower became synonymous with poverty; and to be associated with the teaching profession, was to walk the path of shame."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami Links Tsunami 2004: The global trade union response. (News and information from LabourStart.) Relief donations can be made through Oxfam and other organizations. MoveOn has a petiton to in favor of US aid that will be sent to President Bush and the US Congress.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

San Bernardino County Sun: Cal State dropping Taco Bell "Taco Bell will not return to Cal State San Bernardino when the student union reopens next fall after students complained that Florida tomato pickers are underpaid and mistreated. It is the 21st college in the country to remove Taco Bell."
Wichita Eagle: Graduate assistants' pay lags "While university professors' salaries have outpaced inflation since 1985, graduate teaching assistants' pay lagged behind, a recent state audit found."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Korea Herald: All the world's a university "U.S. universities, as professor Linda Lim, a Singaporean teaching at the University of Michigan, observed, sought foreign students not only as a source of funding, but also because they needed them as researchers and as teaching assistants for undergraduate teaching, and because they were a source of innovation for U.S. industry."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

U of Arizona Faculty weigh in on Patriot Act "UA faculty leaders have endorsed a resolution urging that the Patriot Act and related measures not harm the fundamental educational and research missions of the nation's colleges and universities."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Scientist: Grad student unions push on "Despite a recent US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision forbidding graduate students at private universities from unionizing, students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Yale University have been meeting to discuss the best way to unionize."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

U.S. slips in luring world’s brightest "U.S. universities, which for half a century have attracted the world's best and brightest students with little effort, are suddenly facing intense competition as higher education undergoes rapid globalization."
The New York Times: GRADUATE ASSISTANTS SAID TO BACK UNION "A majority of Columbia University's graduate teaching and research assistants have indicated they want to form a union, the New York State attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, said yesterday."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Plan lets Rutgers profs ease into retirement "Rutgers University's most senior professors would be able to teach part-time for half the pay and full benefits under a new transitional retirement program proposed by the faculty union yesterday."

Friday, December 17, 2004

IECC teachers reject contract; district prepares for strike "The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Education Association rejected a final bargaining agreement proposal by the district on Wednesday, leading to the possiblity of a strike."
Impasse Continues over TAA Contract "The University of Wisconsin's teaching assistants say they're frustrated that talks with the state over a new contract haven't resumed in seven months. That's why when a group of UW students took to the Capitol on Thursday, they included a new TA contract in their ''Christmas wish list.'' They presented the list to Governor Jim Doyle's office."

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Students Protest Naval Academy at Chicago High School "More than 100 high school students on Chicago's North Side walked out of class in protest today. They're upset over the decision to turn part of Senn High School into a naval academy. Chicago Board of Education members unanimously approved the plan Wednesday afternoon"
Windy City Times "The NY Times ( 12/8 ) reports on the Point Foundation, an “outfit that provides grants to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered college and graduate students.” It focuses on need, merit and leadership potential and has awarded 35 scholarships so far. Ryan Kim, abandoned by his parents when he came out in high school, in spite of his A’s and Advanced Placement classes, was one recent recipient. The foundation set up by Bruce Lindstrom and his companion, Carl Strickland, sent Kim to Princeton and provided mentors."
Yale: Most teaching assistants support unionization, according to GESO card count: "About 60 percent of Yale's graduate teaching assistants who are teaching this semester support graduate student unionization, according to a Graduate Employees and Student Organization membership card count, the results of which were released at GESO's membership meeting Tuesday. The vote, however, did not sway University administrators, who said they would maintain a stance against graduate student unionization."
Part-time instructors working to unionize "Part-time instructors at Prairie State College said they are confident they will organize into a union. The question is when — and what organization will represent them."
Benefits issue is subject of protest at U. of Toledo: "With rainbow triangles on their arms, several dozen students yesterday held a silent protest at a University of Toledo board of trustees committee meeting to show their support for extending domestic partner benefits to employees."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

UK: Racism in Higher Education "In the last big study of pay and ethnicity conducted four years ago, the Association of University Teachers found that lecturers from ethnic minorities earned less than their white counterparts on similar pay scales, were less likely to have a senior job, and were more likely to be on insecure short-term contracts."
The New York Times: Can For-Profit Schools Pass an Ethics Test? "A Department of Education report asserted that the school based its recruiters' pay on the numbers of students they brought in, and punished underperforming recruiters by isolating them in glass-walled rooms and threatening to fire them if they failed to meet management goals. Enrollment-based incentives and punishments are sometimes illegal under federal law."
The Chronicle of HIgher Ed: Mentor vs. Protoge "Far more common than research assistants' getting the blame for a professor's plagiarism are the graduate students fuming quietly about their work's being swiped by a mentor. One reason for their silence is fear of retribution. After all, graduate students depend on professors to help advance their careers."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Raise for Grad Assistants at Minnesota "Ryan Murphy, an organizing committee member of the Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants Coalition United Electrical Local 1105, said the pay increase is a step in the right direction."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

After pledges for reform, school apparel still made in sweatshops "Five years ago, passionate student protests on campuses across the country prompted college administrators to pressure manufacturers to improve conditions for workers who make university apparel. Today, college gear continues to be produced under increasingly bleak conditions, despite pledges from the leaders it would stop, The Hartford Courant reported Sunday."

Friday, December 10, 2004

Top Stories Grad workers at SUNY New Paltz demand salary parity "NEW PALTZ - SUNY graduate students who teach classes and perform other vital tasks on the New Paltz campus have launched a campaign demanding pay parity with their counterparts at the system's four university centers."
Employees Say NMSU Is Hampering Union Organizers "Backers of a union contended in a news release that there have been 25 separate incidents of illegal activity by supervisors in 15 departments, that the administration has tried to block free speech about unionization on campus and that the university hired a consultant the backers contend has been used by other employers to slow or stop union organization efforts. "
Michigan Tech Online Lode >Michigan Tech and union reach accord" "Michigan Tech faculty and staff voted to unionize not more than a few months ago and from that came the highly publicized dispute regarding union members and the University Senate constitution. However, on a more subtle, less controversial matter, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) voted Thursday, Nov. 4, 62-47 to ratify a new contract with Michigan Tech."
NJ: State adjuncts may get pension cut under change "Teachers unions are lobbying against the change, which the division wants to make so adjunct professors would have to teach 10 months to get a full year's pension credit."
Faculty unionization still in limbo at GW "More than six weeks after a vote to form a union of part-time faculty at GW, the results of the election remain unknown as organizers and the University haggle over a handful of disputed ballots."
Professors take union fight to Boston "This past Friday, more than 80 teachers and librarians from all nine state colleges, wearing academic robes and carrying picket signs, marched, sang and chanted in front of One Financial Center, the modern building housing the offices of Steve Tocco, state Board of Higher Education chairman." other story here
Cal State Teaching Assistants Strike "The union said it called the strike because of unfair labor practices such as Cal State's failure to provide contact information for student workers and unspecified 'unilateral changes to working conditions.'" See the union's website at
GEO/UMass Christmas Carols -- with mp3 files! "GEO, the graduate employee organization at the Univerisity of Massachusetts Amherst, UAW Local 2322, members take to the streets, caroling for a contract, bringing songs of holiday cheer and labor solidarity to administrators and the chancellor of the university"
Bucknell employees lead rain-soaked protest against contract transfer, loss of benefits "Not deterred by the cold, rainy conditions, or the fact the president of the university sent out an e-mail saying he was going to be out of town, the members of Bucknell University's dining service department, along with other faculty, professors and students, rallied outside President Brian Mitchell's house Thursday night."
Penn State Says No to Microsoft "Worried about persistent security flaws in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, officials at the Pennsylvania State University system have taken the unusual step of recommending that students, professors, and staff members stop using the popular Web browser."
Two Mass. Colleges Revoke Domestic Partner Benefits "At least two colleges in Massachusetts have stopped offering benefits to their employees' same-sex domestic partners since a law went into effect this year that permits gay and lesbian couples in the state to marry."
Higher Ed Act: Tough fight for funding "A key example of the Republicans’ punitive approach is their proposal to tie federal aid to colleges’ graduation rates. Those schools whose students took the longest to attain their degree would face cuts in federal funding. This would be sure to hurt public institutions, since graduation rates are lowest among the students that they serve: those who are low-income, older, working, students of color, and the first in their family to go to college."
Protests at Wesleyan "The meeting was called just one day after duct-taped students dominated university President Douglas Bennet’s office hours at the Campus Center saying they wanted to be heard. Students covered their mouths with the tape to show Bennet they felt 'silenced.'"
Cal State student employees plan to strike "Newly unionized teaching assistants, tutors and other academic student employees at California State University campuses are planning a one-day strike today to protest what they say are unfair labor practices by the university system." See the union's website at
Yahoo! News - Online School That Gave Cat an MBA Is Sued "Investigators paid $299 for a bachelor's degree for Colby Nolan — a deputy attorney general's 6-year-old black cat — claiming he had experience including baby-sitting and retail management."
UVA: Instructor relieved of post in will serve as Shakespeare TA "After being fired from his English teaching position for taking an unauthorized field trip with his detective fiction class earlier in the semester, graduate Arts and Sciences student Justin Gifford is back in the game, gearing up to serve as a teaching assistant for Shakespeare II next semester."
Activists rap mascot, demand cancellation of game with Illinois "Student and faculty groups have met with UO officials in recent weeks to call for cancellation of the game because of Illinois' continued use of the Chief Illiniwek mascot, which some American Indians and others view as derogatory or racist."
Chicago Tribune | Northeastern faculty gives pact thumbs-up "Members of Local 4100 of the University Professionals of Illinois voted 286-4 to approve a pact that calls for no increase in workload and an annual 3.5 percent across-the-board pay hike in each year of the four-year contract."
Union Members Vote for the Contract Agreement at NEIU "CHICAGO, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Northeastern chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois voted to ratify the tentative contract agreement reached with the NEIU administration. The vote was nearly unanimous and it ends the 3-week strike. 'We're very pleased with the settlement and now we're anxious to get back to teaching students,' said NEIU chapter President Ed Hunt. 'We appreciate the cooperation of the administration and we want to again thank Senator Meeks for his valuable assistance,' Hunt said."
Chicago Tribune | School chief donates to settle strike "A dramatic $400,000 personal contribution Tuesday by the chairman of the board of trustees of Northeastern Illinois University has helped end a three-week walkout by 500 faculty and staff members."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

U.S. Innovation Hurt by Restrictions on Foreign Grad Students, Consumers Union Study Shows "Tight restrictions on student visas for foreign graduate students will hasten the erosion of America's global dominance in innovation, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher."
JCU students plan demonstration over sexual assaults "'Something needs to be changed and it can't be solved by an e-mail and a simple meeting,' said Nathan Szabo, a 21-year-old political science major who organized Monday's student meeting."
U. of Phoenix employees await settlement "Nearly six months ago, the government announced up to $6.4 million in overtime wage settlements with the University of Phoenix. But the thousands of enrollment advisers affected by the settlements have not seen any payout or even details on how much they have coming."
Marilyn Manson Teaches Class "With an MTV film crew in tow, Manson surprised students in a Temple University Art and Society class Monday with an hourlong guest lecture."

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Michigan: Quality of life top concern of faculty, SACUA chair tells regents Seems that is what we work on, as is important in general.
Teaching Assistant in France Survival Guide - Wikibooks
Iowa : COGS calls for benefit boost "'Why does this university work?' University of Iowa graduate student Patrick Oray asked into a megaphone. 'Because we do!' about 50 people shouted back."
Group Protests Alleged Racist Dress Codes At Downtown Bars "Brothers' dress code forbids sports jerseys, cut-off shirts and hats worn sideways."
Maine college activists unite "Members of Bowdoin's Queer-Straight Alliance and the Democratic Socialists will focus on human rights related to sexuality, staging a protest in the Union titled 'Keep Your Politics Out of My Bed.' Bates activists will facilitate an anti-sexism training, and Colby students will stage a protest related to health care."
Chicago Trib; Part-time workers seek 1st contract "Some part-time workers at Harper College--faculty, librarians and counselors--have joined forces and have asked the administration to consider them as one bargaining unit in negotiating the first contract for part-time employees."
Michigan: Lecturers, Management Meet on Grievance Settlement "Yesterday’s meeting involved the three lecturers from the English department who filed grievances and representatives from LEO, the English department and the academic human resources department. Both the University and LEO expressed optimism after what they said was a productive meeting." See also a spirited op-ed piece by LEO co-chair Ian Robinson and this pro-union editorial from the campus paper!

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Chronicle: How One Woman Defied the Odds in a Male-Dominated Discipline "In graduate school, Susan C. Athey's male classmates began playing basketball and working out together in the gym. Unwilling to be left out, she took up weight lifting."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Missoulian: Coke revolt: Group rallies against UM's Coca-Cola contract "A swarm of 100-some University of Montana students, faculty and community members marched into UM President George Dennison's office in Main Hall Wednesday afternoon, chanting 'Kill the Coke Contract.'"
Union urges consolidation of Harper contract talks "A new labor union at Harper College is crying foul over the college's refusal to allow it to consolidate contract talks for three groups it represents. The association wants contract talks for both three-hour and six-hour adjunct employees, and for part-time librarians and counselors, to be negotiated at one bargaining table."
Radio Labourstart Radio Labourstart is a new online radio station that features pro-labor music from around the world! Check it out, brothers and sisters!
The Chronicle: Harvard Law School Restores Ban on Military Recruiters, a Day After Court Ruling Against Federal Law "Acting quickly after a federal appeals court this week overturned a law forcing colleges to allow military recruiters on their campuses, Harvard Law School has become the first institution to once again ban the visits, on the grounds that the armed forces discriminate against gay men and lesbians."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Socialist Worker(Britain) - 'Universities have lost their faculties, say students' "Two of the biggest student protests on campuses in Britain for many years have just taken place. Some 1,700 students at Exeter University and 2,000 at Cambridge University demonstrated against planned department closures."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Eastern profs vote to form union "The vote was 338 in favor of the union and 46 opposed, meaning the United Faculty of Eastern will represent full- and part-time faculty in collective bargaining with the university administration."
One Killer Coke activist strikes back "So what can we do as a university in order to address this situation? First off, an independent investigation led by an objective human rights organization is needed. Luckily for NYU, we and more than 100 other American universities belong to an organization called the Worker Rights Consortium - a group whose purpose is to investigate allegations of labor rights abuses. " - News - Northeastern U. Strike Continues After Talks Fail "Union officials say no new talks are scheduled until next Wednesday in the dispute, which has disrupted classes for 12,000 students at the university's Chicago campus."
Iowa: COGS to hold rally this afternoon "The Campaign to Organize Graduate Students will be holding a rally at 12:30 p.m. today to mark the beginning of its latest round of contract negotiations with the University of Iowa."
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Appeals Court Overturns Law Penalizing Colleges That Bar Military Recruiting "Colleges that bar military recruiters from their campuses because the armed forces discriminate against gay men and lesbians cannot be penalized with the loss of federal funds, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled on Monday."

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.