solidarity across unions

Thursday, July 28, 2005

University of Oregon: An open letter to Chancellor Pernsteiner "However, after last week’s bargaining session, I wondered if you ever received the messages that were left by callers. I say this because I got the impression that the OUS team did not come prepared to settle, as there was no administrative expert present for costing work. We, on the other hand, have a costing staff person present during this stage of bargaining; because, even though major economics are out of the way, various decisions requiring financial expertise are likely to unfold."
Ohio: KSU Professors Voting On Potential Strike "Kent State University faculty members who have been working without a contract for nearly a year are voting on whether to authorize a strike, NewsChannel5 reported. The voting by mail ends next Wednesday. Members of the Kent chapter of the American Association of University Professors rejected a tentative agreement reached in June." News "As many as five more Florida A&M University employees have lost their jobs at the beleaguered Tallahassee school, several workers said Tuesday. 'No warning or anything,' said Barbara Gainous, an associate in FAMU's Office of Research Services, who said she and four other workers had been laid off or fired in recent days. FAMU's interim president, Castell Bryant, had fired 41 employees since taking control of the university in January. Many were targeted after a payroll audit aimed at sweeping away employees who were not working or were holding other full-time jobs outside the city."
The Albuquerque Tribune: Local "Teachers' aides, tutors, administrative assistants and other University of New Mexico union members have called an impasse on negotiations. They're asking for better wages, increased insurance coverage and access to university e-mail."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Delaware; Black leaders protest DSU chief "The president of the Delaware NAACP was among a group of black leaders who spoke out Monday against Delaware State University President Allen Sessoms, saying he continues to chip away at the legacy of the historically black land-grant college."
Chicago: Negotiatons at Harper College "The union represents some 300 of the college’s 500 part-time faculty. Union officials say the main issues are compensation and “fair share,” the practice of a union charging dues to nonunion members if those workers benefit from the negotiated contract. Arlene Bublick, president of the adjunct faculty association, could not be reached for comment Monday. She has said the union disagrees with the college’s position of giving each of the five separate unions at the college, including the adjunct faculty, the same percent increase in the coming year."
New York: Approved NCC budget raises tuition "Lawmakers ended weeks of delay yesterday and unanimously approved the $173.5 million Nassau Community College budget, including an 8.3 percent tuition hike, after an influential union leader dropped his opposition. The budget, which increased spending by $11.1 million and raised annual tuition by $240 to $3,140, was approved after the county legislature had twice earlier this summer postponed the vote when Charles Loiacono, president of the Adjunct Faculty Association, said it was bloated with administrative salaries and was 'bilking' students."
Kent State: Union Draws Line in the Sand "Professors at Kent State University aren’t thrilled about the offers the institution has put on the table with regard to salary increases over the next few years — increases that wouldn’t top 3 percent in any year. But the issue that has faculty members angry — perhaps angry enough to go on strike — isn’t salaries, but health insurance. The faculty union, an affiliate of the American Association of University Professors, is currently conducting a mail ballot of its members to seek the authority to strike, possibly as 36,000 students arrive next month for the fall semester."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wisconsin: Group plans protest site near UW lab "In June, a former middle school teacher turned primate defender signed a contract to purchase a cluster of buildings between the labs. He and other animal rights activists plan to create an exhibition hall on the site that will showcase what they say is the torturous reality of primate research."
GW Still Refuses to Recognize Adjunct Union Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/29/05 ... George Washington announced that it would not negotiate with its part-time professors after all because it deemed the National Labor Relations Board's certification of the union election "flawed." In a union election that drew roughly 700 votes from the university's 1,200 adjunct professors, the university's bone of contention lay with the ballots cast by two law instructors....
Fired Florida A&M employees strike back: "Bryant shut down the institute and terminated all of its roughly two-dozen full-time and contract workers, 'as a result of issues surrounding the payroll audit and accountability measures' required by FAMU, says one termination letter signed by the interim president in May."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

PlayLabs is the place to go to audition a new play "'Organizing Abraham Lincoln,' by Lonnie Carter and Rich Klimmer; 3:30 p.m. today This play was selected as winner of the 'Two-Headed Challenge,' an initiative co-sponsored by the Guthrie Theater. It is intended to team an established playwright -- in this case, Carter -- with a professional who is close to the subject matter. Klimmer is a longtime organizer for the American Federation of Teachers. The script features a character who is running his last campaign for teaching assistants at Abraham Lincoln University, a fictional land-grant college. Carter is a charter member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble in Chicago. His writing is marked with staccato riffs. Klimmer's writing is more traditional, and in an excerpt read at the beginning of the festival, the styles could not have been more divergent."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Life's labor staged "The play, called 'Organizing Abraham Lincoln,' takes place at fictional Abraham Lincoln University but is based on Mr. Klimmer's efforts to organize hundreds of graduate students at Temple University in Philadelphia. Graduate students there began a union drive in 1998 over frustration with low pay and substandard health care."
07.21.2005 - Three College of Chemistry graduate students die in tragic freeway accident "Private campus memorial services are being planned for three University of California, Berkeley, graduate students in chemistry who were the apparent victims of a tragic freeway accident last Saturday morning on Interstate-80 in Berkeley."
Oregon Daily Emerald - University of Oregon news and sports - UO classified workers union rallies to express need for better contracts "More than 50 supporters and University service workers gathered at the statue and then marched through Interim Chancellor George Pernsteiner’s office to send the message printed on the group’s fliers: “We Stand United for Fairness and Will Leave No Worker Behind!” Purple balloons surrounded the Pioneer Mother, as did protest signs that read: “Fair deal for all,” “United for fairness” and “Stop bully bosses!”"
The Ball State Daily News - Sick leave benefit will be voted on "University officials want to remove the benefit of paid sick leave for service staff employees, citing abuse and tough economic times, while union officials say taking the benefit away will cause employees to come to work sick subjecting others, including students, to illness."
.: Corvallis Gazette-Times :. News "This spring, 29 students earned Portland State University degrees without setting foot in Portland. It's the latest example of the university's mission to expand its global reach in the face of declining state support at home. It's a strategy that universities across the country are employing, as they try to boost their bottom line by tapping into emerging markets, such as China."
Take Action: Stop NYU's Attack on Workers and Their Union "Take action right now and tell the NYU Administration to allow graduate workers the freedom to have a union and bargain collectively."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Minnesota: Unions file labor suit against University "The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 is suing the University for unfair labor practices during its latest round of contract negotiations, officials announced Tuesday. Members of AFSCME Locals 3800, 3937 and 3260, representing 3,500 clerical, technical and health-care employees at the University, said they filed the suit because the institution is denying union leave to members of its bargaining committee."
The Duke, union ink contract to boost worker pay "After 26 rounds of negotiations, a new three-year contract was finally ratified by Duke and the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees June 30. The contract provides a minimum base pay of $10 per hour and salary increases of 2.5 percent to University employees represented by the Local 77 chapter of the union for each of the next three years."
California: Judge issues order stopping UC nurses' strike "UC nurses, who claim administrators haven't treated them fairly in contract talks, planned earlier this month to stage a one-day strike Thursday. But UC lawyers went to the state Public Employment Relations Board on Tuesday to argue against the strike, saying it's union officials, not UC administrators, who haven't been bargaining in good faith. The board found in UC's favor, filing a complaint in Sacramento Superior Court seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the strike, which was granted Wednesday by Judge Loren McMaster."
ZNet: Remembering Herbert Marcuse "One of the jewels of the video section of the Marcuse website is the 1996 film, 'Herbert's Hippopotamus,' which recounts the controversy that swirled around Marcuse in the late '60s while he was teaching at the University of California's San Diego campus, at a time when he was considered the godfather of the New Left (a title and role he always rejected). The American Legion led a campaign to have Marcuse fired from the university, and even Ronald Reagan got into the act. You owe it to yourself to watch this captivating and revealing one-hour film, which captures Marcuse's personality brilliantly."
Inside Higher Ed: A Bush Choice With College Ties "Judge John G. Roberts Jr., tapped Tuesday night by President Bush as his nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, has an unusual distinction among the jurists considered for the post: extensive experience representing colleges. In several of those cases, he tried to limit the ability of people to sue colleges. Roberts is known as a conservative legal thinker, but he also participated in discussions on preparing a brief, filed by a coalition of higher education associations, defending the use of affirmative action."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

AFT: Academic Freedom under Attack "The AFT vigorously opposes both state and federal bills that incorporate language of the so-called bills of rights. Such measures create unnecessary and inappropriate government interference to our academic institutions and impose an ideological litmus test on hiring, curriculum and teaching."
AFT Higher Education News: Reports Show Many Part-Timers, Salary Disparities "National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show an uneven landscape for staff and faculty at universities and colleges in the United States, with a growing number of part-time faculty, racial and gender disparities in rank and salary, and disadvantages at for-profit institutions."
AFT: Take Action: Urge Congress to Strengthen and Protect the Integrity of Federal Student Aid "The Higher Education Act's mission always has been to open the doors to higher education for students regardless of their financial circumstances. During HEA reauthorization, Congress should not stray from this task and should continue to find ways to improve access to higher education."
Cornell: Graduate Degree Programs in Labor Relations "The collective representation concentration focuses on industrial relations, including the past, present and future of the labor movement. In addition to the core courses, students choosing this concentration can take classes on the history of unions, the modern workforce, international and comparative political economy, theories of the labor movement and practical skills to apply to jobs in unions, labor relations and related areas. This program is ideal for students just finishing undergraduate studies who are interested in social justice, or professionals in the labor movement who are looking for a change of pace."
The Seattle Times: Opinion: Time for community colleges to step up for pay equity "It's no secret that our state's community and technical colleges deliver high-quality education critical to expanding our work force, in particular in high-demand fields such as nursing. A hidden fact in that success is that colleges depend on an overly high ratio of part-time faculty. In fact, over 75 percent of the instructors in Washington's community and technical colleges are part-timers."
California University Nurses Set to Strike "Nurses working for the California University medical system overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer and announced a one-day job action for Thursday to protest what the union considers the state’s failure to deal fairly, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced earlier this month."
After Protest, Cornell and Students Reach Accord in Parking Lot Dispute - New York Times "A stalemate over the preservation of a patch of redbud trees at Cornell University ended yesterday after a group of student protesters reached an agreement that allows the university to build a parking lot in exchange for a pledge to pursue other environmental initiatives. Although at least four protesters refused to sign the agreement with the interim Cornell president, Hunter R. Rawlings III, and insisted that they would continue their resistance, most of the students who had chained themselves to pipes and tethered themselves to trees agreed to leave the woods."

Monday, July 11, 2005

American Federation of Teachers Membership on the Rise Union of Professionals Gains Nearly 40,000 New Members

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Federation of Teachers, one of the fastest growing unions in the United States, comprising five divisions of professional workers employed in schools, colleges and universities, healthcare and government, continued its record of strong membership growth over the past year. The union experienced growth in every region of the nation and in the wide range of professions it represents, adding 38,788 members to its ranks between the AFT convention last year and this week's QuEST conference.

The AFT has gained 750,695 members since 1985, more than doubling in size during that time. The union's numbers have increased every year for more than 20 years. The union's membership now stands at 1,361,485. The AFT's organizing successes over the past year, in a broad range of professions, included:

  • The addition of nearly 5,400 full- and part-time faculty and graduate employees at Rutgers University;
  • The selection of AFT by 2,062 paraprofessionals and school-related personnel in Douglas County, Colo.;
  • Election victories for public charter school faculties in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
  • An election victory for preschool teachers at the Cherry Hill, N.J., Jewish Community Center; AFT also won elections to represent other preschool teachers, including Head Start teachers in Wayne County, Mich., and in Paterson, N.J.;
  • Voluntary recognition by the University of Illinois/Chicago for AFT's graduate employee local, representing 1,261 teaching and research assistants;
  • In New York, 694 adjunct professors employed at Pace University, a private institution, voted to affiliate with the AFT;
  • Only two weeks ago, workers employed as teachers, educational assistants and school clinicians at Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield Center, Conn., voted to join the AFT. These workers provide rehabilitation, mental health and drug intervention services to local school districts;
  • In Washington state, more than 1,000 professors at Central and Eastern Washington universities voted to join the union.

"It takes a lot of hard work and resources to grow the union. These numbers show that workers from a wide spectrum of employment want and need union representation where they work," said AFT president Edward J. McElroy. "We're proud to have a culture of organizing. These numbers are especially impressive when you consider that to maintain our current level of membership, we must sign up 3,000 workers every week because of membership loss due to retirements, resignations and other factors." Much of the union's growth came from signing up members in existing bargaining units. Florida, for example, gained 9,515 members; Texas, 2,761; and New York state added 17,458 new members. In terms of percentage growth, Vermont boosted its ranks by 15 percent and Alabama by 10 percent.

The union gained members in its divisions representing teachers, school-related personnel, higher education and healthcare. The division that represents public employees in local, state and federal government suffered a loss as a result of recently elected Indiana governor Mitch Daniels' unilateral decision to eliminate worker rights and collective bargaining for state workers. The AFT, in conjunction with the United Auto Workers, jointly represented 15,500 Indiana state employees.

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The AFT represents 1.3 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, paraprofessionals and other school support employees, higher education faculty, nurses and other healthcare workers, and state and local government employees.

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.