solidarity across unions

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Washington: Part-time faculty as financial aid "Ten years ago, we part-timers began looking to Olympia because both collective bargaining and repeated task forces had failed to achieve the equal treatment we public employees deserve. The Legislature has finished each session with an incomplete grade; it is time for legislators to stop studying the topic, take the final exam and complete the course."
NYU: Editorial in Support of GSOC/UAW "We as undergraduates should support GSOC, both because we appreciate the work graduate students do for us in our classrooms, and because one day we may be graduate student employees somewhere, and would hope to receive basic measures of respect from our institution."
University of Toledo: Faculty approves contracts "The UT members of the American Association of University Professors union and the UT lecturers bargaining unit voted to accept employment contracts, according to Jim Sciarini, associate vice president of human resources. Sixty-six percent of tenured and tenure-track professors voted to accept the contract and 88 percent of lecturers voted to accept their contract, according to UT News."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Minnesota Daily : U TAs, RAs to vote on union "University graduate employees will decide next month if they want union representation. The state’s Bureau of Mediation Services approved a request last week to hold a vote from graduate student employees across the University. It will happen April 11-15. The Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants Coalition United Electrical Local 1105 filed the request. It has been seeking to unionize the University’s teaching and research assistants."
Yale: GESO to hold vote on strike "Hundreds of teaching assistants in the humanities and social sciences could walk out of their classrooms beginning April 18 -- just days before reading week and final exam period -- if a majority of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization's members vote in the coming weeks to strike, several GESO members said on Tuesday."

Sunday, March 27, 2005

UC Service Workers Strike Appears Imminent "Over 7,300 service workers are bracing for a strike against the University of California, as negotiations between the AFSCME Local 3299 and University appear to be heading towards an impasse. After union members on nine campuses voted 92% statewide to authorize a strike on March 17, 2005, the Bargaining Committee and UC are participating in a state-mandated “fact-finding process.” This process, which is estimated to conclude in late March, is followed by a ten-day renegotiation period."
Inside Higher Ed: A Strike in Ann Arbor "At issue in the dispute are pay and benefits for the graduate instructors, who teach a little under a quarter of all undergraduate course sections. The university’s four-year contract with them expired in February, and they have been working without one since then. Negotiations began in November but the university and the union, an affiliate of the Michigan Federation of Teachers, remain far apart on several key issues, notably wages and health care benefits and costs. Graduate employees at Michigan now earn about $14,000 a year on average for what the university characterizes as about half-time work."
New Jersey: union hits impasse at GCC "Fifteen months after the start of talks to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, Gloucester County College's chapter of the American Federation of Teachers has filed for impasse."
Blue Mass. Group: Guest Blogger: Earth to Boston->Your Flagship is Sinking! "As a recent Boston Globe article has shown, graduate students make considerable sacrifices to study at UMass. To make matters worse, they have also been working without a contract for over a year. GEO, the union representing graduate students on campus, has been negotiating with the University during that time, and it is clear that UMass is complicit in pushing Governor Romney's right-wing agenda."

Friday, March 25, 2005

A discussion about the GEO job action at ann arbor is overrated: a weblog: Nolan Strikes Again

Thursday, March 24, 2005

GU Wage Protesters Hail Victory -- and Eat "After nine days of water, dizziness, vomiting and protest, Georgetown University freshman Jack Mahoney ate a strawberry yesterday just before noon. 'It was great,' he said, beaming. 'It was amazing.' More than 20 students ended their nine-day hunger strike for higher wages and better benefits for university contract workers yesterday, dancing in a ring, singing along with a guitar, cheering and eating strawberries, one slow bite at a time. They had duct-taped a blue banner over their huge 'Living Wage' sign: The new one announced 'We all won!'"
Cornell U. Students Hold Mock Funeral to Protest Shake-Up at Program on Migrant Farmworkers "Students at Cornell University staged a mock funeral last week to protest the transfer of a 34-year-old program to help New York's migrant farmworkers, which they say will spell the end of the program's effectiveness."
Workday Minnesota: U of M graduate employees to take union vote in April "The state Bureau of Mediation Services, which supervises public employee elections in Minnesota, Wednesday announced the dates and manner of the election. GradTRAC/UE Local 1105 is seeking to represent 4,500 graduate employees throughout the University of Minnesota system."
Michigan: GEO votes to stage walkout strike "By an overwhelming vote last night, members of the Graduate Employees’ Organization voted to go on a one-day walkout today. Union members will forego teaching their classes and instead will be picketing outside of various University buildings where classes are taught — Angell Hall, the Chemistry Building, Natural Science and others — as well as staging a rally at 4:30 p.m. in front of the Michigan Union."
U. of Michigan grad assistants start 12-hour strike "ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Unionized graduate student employees at the University of Michigan began a 12-hour strike Thursday to call attention to their contract dispute."
New York: Students' union inks contract with state "The Graduate Student Employees Union, a division of the Communications Workers of America, Local 1104, overwhelmingly ratified a contract agreement reached last month between union negotiators and the governor's Office of Employee Relations."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

NYU: Profs petition for grads "An online petition emerged yesterday among professors asking NYU President John Sexton and the university administration to renegotiate a contract with the graduate students union, even though the university is no longer legally obligated to do so. "
Illinois: Clerical and raduate unions protest while Trustees meet "The Board of Trustees gathered for a conference Thursday but was overshadowed by protests throughout the day directly outside the window of the room they were gathered in. In the morning, chants of 'help me teach, keep me well!' from the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), and during their break, members of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) shouted 'No contract, no peace!'"
Wisocnsin: State denies TAA's 'status quo' offer "The health insurance premium issue is a major roadblock in the ongoing negotiations between the state and the TAA. On March 2, the TAA presented what it calls a 'status quo' proposal for the 2003-'05 contract that did not ask for pay raises, but also exempted health insurance premium payments. "
Wisconsin: Hunger Strike protests tution increases "University of Wisconsin students launched a three-day hunger strike this morning, trying to draw attention to spiraling tuition costs that they say threaten to price low-income residents out of an education."
New Jersey: Students Protest Tuition Hikes "students held a rally yesterday on the steps of the State House in Trenton looking to slow down or reverse the trend of decreasing state funding and subsequent annual tuition hikes. "
Florida: Graduate assistants need to speak up "For dozens of years, Graduate Assistants United has publicly maintained that the work conditions for graduate assistants at UF has had a detrimental effect on UF’s academic competitiveness: the minimum stipend for a graduate assistant ranks among the lowest in the nation, and until last year, our employers did not offer to help alleviate the cost of health insurance. As long as UF persists in offering a student-, not employee-, based plan designed for those younger than 25, UF will not be competitive in this very important field."
Duke: Graduate student insurance rates to rise 20% "Insurance rates have risen on average 14 percent annually due to inflations in the health sector. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, the provider of Duke’s student health insurance, hiked costs 21.9 percent last year to $1,310 per student. Purdy said he expected the costs to increase another 20 percent this fall, raising concerns among cash-strapped graduate students."
UMass: Center increases child-care fees "'I think it is unfair of the university to tout their support of University Child Care by telling families they have to pay more,' said Megan E. McDonough, who has a 3-year-old daughter in the full-day preschool classroom and is the family issues advocate for the Graduate Employee Union. 'The fees have already risen dramatically.'"
CA, Ventura College: District declares impasse "'We can't just sit around and have them impose this stuff on us,' Korn said. 'This happened back with [former chancellor, '95-'02] Phil Westin.' Korn said the union thinks if work-rules were imposed, the district would create a formula for salaries and benefits, dismantle the grievance process, dismantle the evaluation process and impose their work-rules on assignment, which is what it has been trying to do all along. "
Wisconsin: 40 plan hunger strike to protest rising tuition "At least 40 students and staff members plan to stage a three-day hunger strike to protest planned tuition increases in the University of Wisconsin System and to demand tuition rollbacks. The participants will drink water but eat no food from Monday through Wednesday, according to a press release. More than 20 students, teaching assistants and academic staff from UW-Madison are committed to the fast; another 20 people from UW-Eau Claire also plan to participate."
Cook County College teachers win strike; then bosses fire 140 workers who honored the picket line "The strike by the CCCTU (Local 1600 of the American Federation of Teachers, the parent union of the 36,000-member Chicago Teachers Union) was contentious from the beginning. The City Colleges administration, represented by the controversial law firm of Franczek Sullivan PC (the same firm that represented the Chicago Board of Education at a cost of more than $1 million in last year’s negotiations) began harassing strikers and their supporters from the beginning of the strike October 17 and has continued to do so since the strike ended November 7."
The Michigan: Office staff to form union "University staff members are moving forward in their efforts to form the Union of Professional Office Workers, which would represent the more than 3,700 office and clerical workers employed by the University. U-POWER would be the ninth labor union formed to negotiate employment conditions directly with the University.U-POWER expects to gain enough support to form the union by the end of the calender year, said Peter Schermerhorn, a U-POWER organizer and research secretary in LSA"
New Mexico State: Grad students vote in favor of unionizing "A majority of the attendees of the Graduate Student Council meeting Monday voted in favor of unionizing, but the decision to unionize will not be final until the next council meeting....Members of the Graduate Student Council moved to unionize primarily to bargain with the administration for graduate assistant tuition waivers."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - GET-UP seeks more healthcare "Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania is embarking on a new battle -- improving health care options for graduate students." "The group is attempting to get fully paid health insurance premiums, as well as affordable health insurance for dependents and access to affordable child care, according to the press release sent to Gutmann."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Michigan: GSIs prepare for walkout: "A number of graduate student instructors have begun to warn their students of a possible walkout next week, which has yet to be formally approved, but seems likely to pass, according to some GSIs. The Graduate Employees’ Organization — the union for graduate student instructors on campus — will vote on a walkout next week. The lecturers’ union, the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, has said that though it supports their cause, it will not ask its members to walk out in solidarity. 'We are sympathetic and supportive of the issues that GEO is discussing, but we are not calling a strike. We have a no-strike clause in our contract,' said LEO president Bonnie Halloran. She continued and said that members have individually been discussing whether they plan on supporting the walkout."
New Mexico State: ASNMSU to allow union meetings "The Associated Students of New Mexico State University Senate voted unanimously at its meeting Thursday in favor of a resolution to allow NMSU workers to hold meetings concerning the formation of a union. Representatives for the workers said they would like a forum to discuss the possibility of a union without the fear of being reprimanded or fired...Several representatives from the worker's organization spoke to the senate during open forum. A large crowd of students, staff and faculty filled the senate gallery and loudly applauded each speaker."
Bowling Greeen: GSS backs new insurance plan "The Graduate Student Senate passed a highly contested resolution just before spring break requiring all graduate students enrolling in the University to prove they either have adequate health insurance or purchase the University plan....A co-sponsor of the resolution, National, Regional and Local Chair Erik Towne said that by bringing more students into the University insurance plan, more money will be put into the insurance policy. In the long run, students will get better service and better care, while hopefully bringing the cost of coverage down."
Britian: Over 1.25 million set to strike over pensions "Over one and a quarter million workers are set to strike on Wednesday next week in the biggest industrial revolt to hit New Labour during its eight years in government. At the beginning of this week those who were set to strike over the government’s attack on pension rights ranged from council street cleaners to job centre staff, from social workers to top civil servants."
Iowa: Workers, regents write new contract "Nurses' wages at University Hospitals will increase 4.5 percent each of the next two years under a labor contract announced Tuesday by the Iowa state Board of Regents. The two-year deal aims to make wages more competitive and reduce turnover, but it falls well short of a graduated plan put forth by Service Employees International Union, Local 199. An arbitrator resolved the negotiations, siding with the regents, officials said."
Virginia: Graduate Student Labor Union urges Gov. Warner to reject amendment prohibiting financial aid out of state graduate students "In the 2005 legislative session, the Virginia State Senate Budget amendments restricted state appropriations so that they can only be used to provide financial aid to in-state graduate students at Virginia colleges and universities. To try to halt this University Graduate Labor Union President Ethan Sribnick is working to voice the concerns of graduate students."
GEO - U of M Fellow workers, We here in Ann Arbor are approaching the end of another long Michigan winter, but the admin's attitude at the bargaining table just keeps getting frostier. Their latest offer included a regressive no-strike clause with all kinds of punitive measures facing anyone who would dare respect another union's picket line. And of course the normal insulting proposals on wages, benefits, etc. Check for the gory details. We have scheduled a one-day walkout on March 24 and a possible open-ended strike starting April 4. The membership will meet the evening of March 23 and it's looking more and more likely that we'll be forced to carry out the walkout the next day. We would love to host as many of you fine unionists as are willing to come help pull this thing off. There's obviously a ton going on here- anytime you wanted to come from this weekend through the next would be great, and if you had to choose, I'd say coming in Wednesday night for the Membership Meeting and staying for the walkout on Thursday, the 24th is the peak time. Fellow midwesterners! Consider this call for solidarity directed especially at you! We'll be contacting you to see how many folks you're sending... Those from more far-flung locales! If you have any strike resources put together (checklists, song sheets, clever chants, etc.) that might be useful, we'd much appreciate any guidance you have. in Solidarity, Dave David S. Dobbie President, GEO, AFT Local 3550 Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Sociology University of Michigan **************************************************************** "You can accomplish a lot of good in the world if you don't care who gets the credit for it." --Myles Horton, Highlander Center

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Illinois: Opponents of "chief" mascot file lawsuit "The lawsuit, filed by the Illinois Native American Bar Association (INABA) and two American Indian individuals, alleges that keeping the Chief as the University's mascot violates the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003, the Illinois Constitution and the Board of Trustees' own non-discrimination policy. The suit asks for a judicial declaration as to whether Chief Illiniwek is demeaning and discriminatory to American Indians. "
Quebec:'We are not turning back' "Tens of thousands of students marched through the streets of Montreal yesterday, vowing to continue their provincewide campaign until $103 million in cuts to financial aid are restored. Carrying placards in their hands, and wearing the red square symbol of bankruptcy on their lapels, students rejected a last-minute offer by Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier. 'It's been a year since these cuts were made,' said Julie Bouchard, president of the Quebec Federation of College Students. 'We are not turning back. We will go to the very end.'"
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Taiwan: New Century Youth Group and the Coalition Against High Tuition in Taiwan: Against Commercialization of Education "Just as we did in opposing the unreasonable price increase for rice wine, we used a concrete example to expose the ignorance and appeasement of the current government with regard to WTO. When we say we oppose commercialization of education, we imply two things. First, we are against commercialization; second, we are against capitalism."
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UCLA workers protest at regents' meeting "Banging pots and pans, blowing whistles and holding signs, workers announced that they had voted overwhelmingly to strike if they do not receive what they see as a fair contract. Workers have been in negotiations with the university since last June, and have now decided that they will strike if they do not receive higher wages and the opportunity for advancement in the new contract."
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University Students protest against privatization of universities in Sri Lanka "Students and Buddhist monks carrying placards marched to the University Grants Commission, the authority in higher education, shouting slogans denouncing the moves by the government to permit private universities and a medical college."
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Thursday, March 10, 2005 - Free Telephone Conference Call Service
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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

UC food workers union poised to vote on strike option "Abraham Ramos says it is unfair that university employees have not received a pay raise in two years. The UC Santa Cruz food services worker pays $100 more for his share of rent on a three-bedroom in Beach Flats than he did last year. He shares the apartment with five other adults. As one of 550 UCSC members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Ramos says he plans to vote 'yes' Thursday to authorize his union to call for a strike."
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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sit through the annoying Technology Ad to read this excellent story by Cory Doctrow: Anda's game "'I want them to walk out -- to go on strike,' he said. 'It's the only way to get results: band together and withdraw your labour.' Raymond's voice had a thick Mexican accent that took some getting used to, but his English was very good -- better, in fact, than Lucy's. 'Walk out in-game?' Lucy said. 'No,' Raymond said. 'That wouldn't be very effective. I want them to walk out in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. I'll call the press in, we'll make a big deal out of it. We can win -- I know we can.' 'So what's the problem?' Anda said. 'The same problem as always. Getting them organised. I thought that the game would make it easier: we've been trying to get these girls organized for years: in the sewing shops, and the toy factories, but they lock the doors and keep us out and the girls go home and their parents won't let us talk to them. But in the game, I thought I'd be able to reach them --'"
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Saturday, March 05, 2005

via CGEU weblog comments: "In recent years, many of the biggest organizing wins in the private sector have been achieved through non-NLRB recognition processes negotiated between the union and the employers. Unions have worked hard to explain how the NLRB no longer effectively protects the rights of workers to organize. With this policy change, employers will be able to argue that they have agreed to a fair process with the union while still taking advantage of the anti-organizing Board law. I believe it is designed to make it harder for unions to garner public support in their campaigns to compel employers to negotiatiate fair organizing agreements." --comment posted by David Sanders, GESO-Yale/ UNITE HERE!
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Friday, March 04, 2005

NLRB Press Release R-2555: NLRB Adopts Alternative Procedure in Representation Cases "The National Labor Relations Board has revised its rules to create, effective March 1, 2005, a new representation case procedure: the “Full Consent Election” Agreement. Under the new procedure, parties can agree that disputed pre-election and post-election issues will be resolved with finality by a Regional Director with no appeal to the Board."
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Yale grad students threaten strike vote "A group of Yale graduate students said Wednesday that if the university does not recognize them as a union, they will vote on a strike that could hamper the grading of final exams and the issuance of student grades. "
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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Report Faults Ivy League Colleges for Low Level of Racial and Gender Diversity on Their Faculties "Ivy League colleges have made few strides in hiring women and members of minority groups, according to a report released this week by a group of Yale University graduate students who are seeking to form a union. Data in the report, compiled from existing statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, show that of 433 new professors hired into tenure-track positions at Ivy League institutions in 2003, only 150 were women, 14 were black, and 8 were Hispanic. The report, 'The (Un)Changing Face of the Ivy League,' was produced by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, with the help of graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. It blames the nation's most elite colleges, including Yale, Harvard University, and Princeton University, for failing in what the report calls 'one of their primary missions as institutions in higher education: the promotion of social equality.'" The Report is online at
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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Michigan State: Article on Radical Activism at MSU "The anti-war sentiment energized thousands of MSU students against involvement in Vietnam during the late 1960s. Already, the civil rights movement had mobilized black people throughout the country, and now students were taking a stand against the inequities in American policy."
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CBC British Columbia - College strike over "VANCOUVER – There is now a deal for all six B.C. colleges that had been targeted by rotating strike action by their support workers this term. On Friday, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union had reached tentative contract agreements with three schools – BCIT, Douglas College and Okanagan University College. Then on Saturday, deals were reached with the remaining three colleges – Northwest, Northern Lights and Kwantlen University colleges."
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Coalition of Higher Education Groups Launches Advertising and Lobbying Campaign to Keep Integrity in Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs "A coalition of groups representing students, faculty, consumer advocates, and admission and enrollment officers has formed to oppose the proposed elimination of rules that safeguard federal student loans and other student aid programs. The coalition, called 'Keep Integrity,' will begin its campaign the first week of March."
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UCSD: Workers to vote on strike "University of California service workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees may strike, due to a collapse in negotiations between the union and the university."
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Union accuses UC of relying on sweatshop labor "University of California employees led by AFSCME Local 3299 said Wednesday they're calling on UC system officials to end the practice of allegedly buying uniforms made in sweatshops around the world....Shirts, jackets, pants and hats worn on the job by food servers, custodians, hospital security and other workers on UC's campuses are made in nations with inadequate labor standards, such as Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, China, Mexico, Pakistan, El Salvador and Sri Lanka, according to the UC workers, who are engaged in contract talks with the university system."
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UAW yields to organizing protest, awaits vote "Facing a legal challenge from an antiunion worker backed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the UAW said this week it will not try to enforce representation rights at the Thomas Built Buses Inc. plant in High Point, N.C., until there is a secret-ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board."
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The New York Times > Opinion: Don't Blame Wal-Mart "The only way for the workers or citizens in us to trump the consumers in us is through laws and regulations that make our purchases a social choice as well as a personal one. A requirement that companies with more than 50 employees offer their workers affordable health insurance, for example, might increase slightly the price of their goods and services. My inner consumer won't like that very much, but the worker in me thinks it a fair price to pay. Same with an increase in the minimum wage or a change in labor laws making it easier for employees to organize and negotiate better terms."
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UC Accuses Union of Disclosing Info - Daily Nexus Online "The University of California is accusing the Coalition of University Employees (CUE) of leaking parts of a fact-finding report to Northern Californian newspapers before the end of a confidentiality period."
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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.