solidarity across unions

Sunday, January 30, 2005

UCSC clerical workers rally for new contract, pay raises "SANTA CRUZ — Michelle Tapiz broke into tears as she shared her story Thursday. 'I’m a mother of three, and I can’t support my kids,' said Tapiz, 34, of Watsonville, who makes $2,400 a month at UC Santa Cruz and hasn’t had a raise in three years. 'It’s not fair. I work at this huge university that has the money.' About 200 people rallied at noon at the Cowell College plaza to show support for Tapiz, an administrative assistant in the sciences division, and other clerical workers whose contract expired Sept. 30. They carried signs calling for a "living wage" and reading, 'Imagine if the Regents were underpaid, too.'"
Queen's Journal - TAs, administration butt heads "More than 60 Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, graduate students and faculty voiced their concerns about TA funding packages, wages and policy in a TA Town Hall meeting Wednesday evening in the JDUC." - With GESO, a little history is instructive "It's telling that those who argue that GESO is insulting to other Yale workers are hardly ever Yale workers themselves. Anyone wondering why this is should talk to the Yale workers who gathered last night to commemorate a momentous victory over common adversity won by two trade unions composed of people with different jobs from different demographics. Now, as then, access to decent family health care, opportunities for training and a voice on the job are critical for the people who clean our buildings and for the people who teach in them. And ensuring working conditions that make it possible for all Yale employees to better do their jobs and support their families is crucial for all of us who depend on their work and share this community."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Chicago Tribune | City Colleges' faculty targets chancellor "Angry over post-strike moves by City Colleges of Chicago administrators, full-time faculty members at the seven campuses are voting this week on a 'no confidence' resolution aimed at Chancellor Wayne Watson....The petition comes as some full-time faculty members have resigned their administrative and committee posts in protest of a decision to fire about 140 emeritus--retired full-timers who return to teach as needed--and adjunct faculty members who observed the picket line. Faculty and union officials also say that hundreds of classes will not be staffed when the spring semester begins Monday."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The UW Daily Online "The young, energetic teaching associate at the helm, disinguishable from her students only by a small increase in age and her position at the front of the class holding the chalk, leads the class while still attending school. Sharon Crowley, a doctoral student and TA in the English department, is one of the 1,340 graduate students employed as TAs at the UW as of fall quarter 2004. She balances her own studies with her job as a teacher and her responsibilities as a steward for the Union for Academic Student Employees (UASE) at the UW."

Monday, January 24, 2005

York U: Criminalizing campus dissent "The next thing I knew, my friend Greg — a grad student from the sociology department — was also on the ground, pinned down by the cops. I could see him being hit. We followed as Greg was pulled down the hallway by a few cops, one of whom waved his bayonet in the air. I could hear him calling out, his small frame dwarfed by the burly officers on either side of him, 'They called me 'fag'!"

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Woodstock Times "Last fall, the New Paltz Times announced that Steven Poskanzer, the president of SUNY-New Paltz, was speaking to various local chambers of commerce touting the positive economic impact that SUNY has made on our area....Well, friends and neighbors, what President Poskanzer didn't mention in the letter or brochures is the very dirty secret of SUNY-New Paltz's blatant economic exploitation of its adjunct teaching faculty. Many do not realize that over half the courses at New Paltz are taught by adjuncts, who make up over half the teaching staff, and whose base pay is $2,000 per course. Presently there is a two-course per semester limit for adjuncts, so many of us make $8,000 a year teaching two-thirds the course load of a full-time professor."
An article on the hardships of Graduate Employee life in Jane Magazine. (PDF)
U. Chicago: Graduate students debate the merits of unionizing "As a private institution, the University of Chicago falls under the jurisdiction of the NLRB. Yet despite the ruling, Kirchner said the approximately 8000 graduate students at the University could still form a union if they won the consent of administrators."
Vancouver: BCIT union threatens to close down five campuses "The union representing support workers at five B.C. post-secondary institutions is turning up the pressure on government negotiators with its plan to strike all five campuses of the B.C. Institute of Technology tomorrow."

Thursday, January 20, 2005

CBC British Columbia - College strike back on again "VANCOUVER – B.C. college support workers have resumed their rotating strike action after mediation talks failed to produce an agreement. Pickets are up on Thursday at Northern Lights College campuses in northern B.C. On Friday, the strike shifts to Kwantlen College on the Lower Mainland."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Scoop: Artificial intelligence alive and well "Maria, an assistant teacher in Statistical Interference, is an unusual individual. She looks to be in her mid-twenties but her age, she says, cannot be computed in human years. With a vocabulary of 203,000 words, a repertoire of 106,000 grammatical rules and 118,000 rules of logical interference, Maria is capable of conversation at quite a complex level. Maria is a robot, or artificial intelligence entity, created over two years of intense work and study by Shahin Maghsoudi, a PhD student and member of the Artificial Intelligence Group in the Faculty of Science."
Yle: Learning to stop worrying (and love GESO) "When I first heard of a graduate student union my freshman year here, the idea sounded preposterous. Unions, in my mind, were either part of that confusing period of U.S. history between the big wars, like the Haymarket riots, or else fat men in ugly suits posing with Mayor Daley and getting indicted for corruption. I forgot the common sense I knew -- that administrators are more powerful than anyone, and that graduate students are poor and powerless -- and put my faith in the media's image of bad unions."
The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Health-Care Tussle "Professors and support-staff members accustomed to high-quality health care at low cost -- in some cases at no cost -- are now shouldering new burdens, and not always happily. Some would say that a longstanding compact between the rank and file and the institutions where they work has been weakened, if not broken."
Yale: New Haven mayor encourages diversity at Yale "After reflecting on the spirit and values of Martin Luther King Jr., New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and seven labor leaders spoke on behalf of UNITE HERE locals 34 and 35, SEIU Local 1199 and the Graduate Employees and Students Organization. Coalition leaders said they will continue to push for an open forum with top Yale officials to discuss University recruitment and employment practices. But University administrators said they already have a forum for such concerns and are committed to increasing diversity at Yale."
Labor Notes - U of Tennessee Faculty Fight for Fair Pay, Benefits "Tennessee, like most states in the South, denies collective bargaining rights to public employees. However, [United Campus Employees] is part of a growing trend of non-majority unions—committees formed by small groups of workers who organize for the rights of all employees. Though these workers don’t have collective bargaining rights, they still function as a union, fighting for improvements in working conditions, and organizing for better wages and benefits. "

Monday, January 17, 2005

master of none "As US unions continue to lose membership, sinking toward 1900 levels of union membership (versus a high of over 40% of workers mid-century), finally a discussion about dramatic options to match the dire circumstances is shaping up. Some of the largest, most active and growing unions, including SEIU and UNITE-HERE are proposing a restructuring of the entire AFL-CIO federation. They propose consolidating the many existing unions into a small number of industry-specific organizations, to achieve industry clout, avoid competition, and make national campaigns more feasible. They're calling this the 'New Unity Partnership.'"

Friday, January 14, 2005

Mobilizing Shoppers to Support Good Jobs :: ILCA Online :: Making Labor Media a Force to Be Reckoned With "36% of shoppers willingly paid 10% more for goods labeled as produced under 'good working conditions.' 24% of shoppers willingly paid 50% more for goods labeled as produced under 'good working conditions.' When taken aside after the purchase and told more about sweatshops and worker rights, 66% of the shoppers said they would pay an additional 20% above what they had paid to support 'good working conditions.' "
Possible Trade Strike at University of Manitoba "WINNIPEG - Last-minute negotiations are underway in a bid to avoid a strike by support staff at the University of Manitoba. The Canadian Auto Workers Union has set a strike deadline of midnight to reach an agreement for 400 tradespeople, maintenance and food service workers."
Educators To Stop The War "K-12, college, labor and social advocacy educators from the northeast and mid-Atlantic states have come together to organize a major conference to develop anti-war strategy, analysis, curriculum and organization among our ranks."
Souther Utah University: Student arrested after campus protest "SUU junior Justin Booth was escorted off campus in handcuffs Wednesday after refusing to leave the college president's office. After a rally before about 100 students, 40 students went to the office hoping to voice a laundry list of concerns with President Steve D. Bennion."
University of Oregon: Students back bus drivers at demonstration "Citizens from Eugene and the surrounding area rallied at the Lane Transit District downtown station Thursday afternoon with LTD bus drivers and members of unions around the Northwest, showing support for the drivers' contract negotiations with LTD representatives."
Yale: GESO's agenda is a crucial part of local unions' efforts "Local 35 never had an NLRB election. We fought and forced Yale to agree to a fair process, so that the workers that wanted the union got the union. Then, we didn't stop supporting the unionization of Yale's clerical workers just because they lost two union elections during the 1970s. In 1983, they won a squeaker election and then went on strike. We respected their picket line, and together we won excellent contracts, reducing the gender pay gap by raising wages for what was considered 'women's work.' We have learned never to turn our backs on any group of workers, and we'll never forget that lesson. That's why we'll continue supporting our brothers and sisters in GESO, who walked our picket lines and stood with us in our struggles."
Yale's books don't add up for graduate teachers "I will earn less than at any previous point in my time here for doing the exact same work. I am appalled at the utter lack of a governing logic and disgusted by the disrespect this shows to my teaching and to my students. Yale's teachers deserve better: We deserve a union contract."
UK: Pupils become part of the union "The English Secondary Students' Association (Essa) is the first union for 11-19-year-olds. It is the brainchild of secondary student, Rajeeb Dey, from Chelmsford in Essex, who heard that Ireland and most of Europe have a union, while England does not."
Wales - University threatens to sue lecturers' union for libel "A Welsh university is threatening to sue a lecturers' union for libel after it criticised the planned closure of departments. The bitter squabble between University of Wales, Swansea officials and lecturers over plans to shut departments has turned into open war, with the university heading towards the courts." - Unionization: Ivy League groups continue fight "Despite recent legal decisions against graduate student unionization, groups at Yale University and Columbia University have recently renewed their commitment to the cause."
Faculty at N.B.'s St. Thomas University take strike vote: "Faculty members at St. Thomas University in Fredericton have begun taking a strike vote....The 105 professors at the university could walk out by the end of this month if no agreement is reached on a new contract."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - GESO claims card count victory "Though Graduate Employees and Students Organization officials said they consider results from a recent card count to be an important step in their union recognition campaign, University administrators continue to abide by a National Labor Relations Board ruling and said they will maintain their policy of not granting employee status to graduate teachers and researchers."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

AFT - Higher Education - News - 2005 - New IRS regs keep student exception "Graduate employees got an end-of-the-year present from the IRS, when the Dec. 21 Federal Register published final rules governing student employee Social Security tax, or FICA, exceptions."

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Number of Doctorates Edges Up Slightly "The number of new doctorates from American universities increased by just under 2 percent in 2003, turning around a three-year downward trend, according to an annual survey."
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Montana University System Must Offer Equal Benefits to Same-Sex and Other Unmarried Couples, Court Rules "Montana's state university system must extend the same health benefits to gay couples as it does to heterosexual couples, the State Supreme Court ruled last week, declaring that to do otherwise would violate the state constitution's equal-protection clause."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The New York Times; Labor Board's Critics See a Bias Against Workers "The Republican-dominated board has made it more difficult for temporary workers to unionize and for unions to obtain financial information from companies during contract talks. It has ruled that graduate students working as teaching assistants do not have the right to unionize at private universities, and it has given companies greater flexibility to use a powerful antiunion weapon - locking out workers - in labor disputes."

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Harvard Gazette: Academic turns city into a social experiment "One of former Bogotá Mayor Antanas Mockus' many inspired strategies for changing the mindset - and, eventually, the behavior - of the city's unruly inhabitants was the installation of traffic mimes on street corners."

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.