solidarity across unions

Monday, August 22, 2005

Tell NYU to Stop Union Busting! 

Respect Academic Workers and their Freedom to Form Unions!

Join labor leaders, elected officials, faculty, undergraduates, campus staff and the graduate student employees of NYU.

Expose NYU’s attack on collective bargaining and union membership! The Bush Labor Board denied another group of workers the protections of federal labor law. First it was workers at the Dept. of Homeland Security, and then it was airport screeners, now its graduate employees. Who will be next?

These workers have fought for years for union protections. After a hard won battle for recognition and four years with a union contract, NYU is refusing to bargain. Join us on August 31 and demand that NYU respect democracy and the will of its graduate employees to form a union and bargain in good faith. Let’s send a strong message to NYU and every other employer that tramples on the freedom to form unions - that New York is a Union City.

Directions by Subway: Take the Lexington Avenue subway (No. 6 train) to Astor Place Station. Go west on Astor Place to Broadway. Walk south on Broadway to Waverly Place. Walk westward on Waverly Place until you reach Washington Square. OR Take the Broadway subway (N, R or W train) to Eighth Street Station. At Broadway walk south to Waverly Place. Walk westward on Waverly Place until you reach Washington Square. OR Take the Sixth Avenue subway to West Fourth Street-Washington Square Station (A, C, E, B, D, F, or V train). Walk east on West Fourth Street until you reach Washington Square. OR Take the Seventh Avenue subway to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square Station (1, 9 or 2). Walk east on Christopher Street to West Fourth Street. Continue east to Washington Square.

Sponsored by GSOC-UAW, UAW Region 9A, the New York City Central Labor Council, the New York State AFLCIO, and the New York Voice at Work Higher Education Committee--a coalition of unions representing the diverse workers in our state colleges, universities and research foundations. For further information contact Ed Ott at 212-604-9552 or Susan Borenstein at 212-661-1555 Ext. 12.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 12-1pm, Bobst Library 70 Washington Square South (West 4th St. & LaGuardia Place)

Declaration of Principles For Collective Bargaining in Higher Education

We are higher education workers, joined by community members and elected offi cials, who believe that quality higher education and the right to collective bargaining are essential to building a more just, democratic and equal society. We support all those--teachers, graduate employees, researchers, technicians, support and service staff, construction, and building maintenance workers, whether they do full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract work—who seek to improve their lives and the institutions in which they work through collective bargaining. We are particularly alarmed that access to affordable, quality higher education has diminished and that the right of workers in higher education to unionize and bargain collectively for a living wage has eroded. We have fallen victim to a cost-cutting, corporate model of teaching and learning that denies education’s historic mission to enrich community life, advance social justice, guarantee academic freedom, and provide opportunities for individual fulfi llment.

We believe that all workers at institutions of higher education must have the right to organize and the right to bargain collectively. Freedom of association and the opportunity to act together to advance our lives and secure our futures are fi rmly established public policy and standards of international human rights. The National Labor Relations Board’s recent decision to strip graduate research and teaching assistants of their right to bargain is a striking example of the downward spiral in labor relations.

All higher education employers must remain neutral in unionization efforts and be prohibited from using tuition, tax dollars or research funds to fi ght unionization. Employees should be allowed to form unions through a simple and democratic majority verifi cation card check process. We cannot permit legal maneuvers or our own money to be used to undercut freedom of expression and association. Contracting and procurement by higher education institutions, both public and private, must adhere to human rights, prevailing wage and responsible contractor standards. We cannot permit higher education institutions, guardians of democratic principles and traditions, to circumvent laws that protect prevailing wages, community standards and the right to organize and bargain.

Steady employment in higher education is a precondition to providing quality education and services and to guaranteeing a reasonable quality of life to academic employees. Job instability leads to inconsistency of service to students. “Casualizing” employment has a heavy impact on women, immigrants, and people of color. We cannot accept jobs segregated by race and gender, jobs that carry little security and offer no voice.

We resolve to work together to achieve these principles to ensure quality higher education and the right to collective bargaining.

Hide the Republicans, the Christians, and the Women 

A Response to “Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty”

"Do conservatives suffer discrimination in academe? In “Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty,” Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte argue that “conservatives and Republicans teach at lower quality schools than do liberals and Democrats.” Using a survey of 1643 faculty members from 183 four-year colleges and universities, they conclude that their results are “consistent with the hypothesis that political conservatism confers a disadvantage in the competition for political advancement.” In this response, we show that Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte’s work is plagued by theoretical and methodological problems that render their conclusions unsustainable by the available evidence. Furthermore, we offer an alternative hypothesis theoretically consistent with their findings."

U. of Wisconsin Suspended Primate Researcher After Animal-Care Violations "A professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison was suspended from doing animal research for two years after an investigation into deaths and illnesses among rhesus monkeys in her laboratory in 2001 and 2002, university officials acknowledged this week. Ei Terasawa, a professor of pediatrics who also works at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, was suspended from conducting animal research there after review boards at the university found that she and others in her research group had violated the protocols approved for an experiment she was conducting. A group critical of animal research, the Primate Freedom Project, this week released some of the university's internal memos that the organization had obtained detailing infractions by Ms. Terasawa and her staff. In the most serious violation, one rhesus monkey died in an experiment chair while a laboratory employee was at lunch, said Eric P. Sandgren, who heads a university committee that oversees experiments that involve animals. Researchers at the center are not allowed to leave animals unattended during experiments, he said. Some animals were given drugs that the protocol for Ms. Terasawa's experiment did not authorize, or dose levels higher than were allowed, the memos say."
Princeton Gives Automatic Tenure Extension to New Parents "In an effort to improve the climate for female professors, Princeton University is giving new faculty parents of both sexes automatic one-year extensions on the tenure track. Before the policy change, which was recommended in a 2003 report on the status of female science-faculty members at the university, assistant professors had to ask for a one-year extension for each child born or adopted into their families. But professors worried that asking for the extensions would harm them in their tenure bids, the report warned."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The University of Vermont was within its rights not to reappoint a visiting professor who had been a leader in the school's new faculty union, the Vermont Supreme Court has ruled.

Dawn Saunders taught economics as a visiting professor at UVM from 1995 to the spring of 2003. She was active in organizing the faculty to unionize and was a member of the negotiating team that hammered out the union's first contract in February 2000."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

FAMU faculty union may fight layoffs "Florida A&M University's faculty union is threatening to file a state complaint against interim President Castell Bryant following a round of layoffs last week that union officials said were the school's attempt to disguise more firings."
Unions asking back-to-school shoppers to boycott Wal-Mart "Consumers shopping for back-to-school supplies are being asked to boycott Wal-Mart by the nations' biggest teachers unions and other labor leaders, who contend the company's pay and benefit policies cost taxpayers and hurt communities."
CNW Group "Teaching Assistant Unions from across Canada will come together in Vancouver from August 12 - 13, 2005, to share information and strategies to improve their working conditions and position themselves to get better contracts. The inaugural meeting of the Canadian Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions (CCGEU) is set to include discussions of coordinated bargaining and organizing."
Faculty, Cincinnati State at odds over contract "On campus Wednesday morning, faculty members in red union shirts handed out hundreds of leaflets describing the situation and listing some of what faculty members are seeking in their next contract. Union president Pam Ecker said that the faculty and administration have clashed on salary, benefits, workload and non-tenure-track faculty positions." - YSU faculty union sets date for strike "Youngstown State University's 380-member faculty union filed a notice to strike effective Aug. 23 if a new contract isn't ironed out by then. It could get quite crowded on the strike line. The YSU Association of Classified Employees union, which represents about 400 nonfaculty members, plans to strike Tuesday if it cannot get a new contract by then."
Massive students’ protest in Sri Lanka "Tens of thousands on university students walked to the capital today to protest against President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s criticism against students’ bodies. As two demonstrations from Kelaniya and Jayawardanepura where the two universities in the suburbs situated, reached the capital in the afternoon, students of Colombo University joined them." > Sports > Aztecs -- NCAA puts limited ban on Indian mascots "The NCAA Executive Committee yesterday announced a postseason ban of 'hostile and abusive' American Indian nicknames and imagery for college sports teams, including those with spears in their logos and mascots that pose as American Indian warriors. The 18 schools subject to the new policy, effective Feb. 1, include the Florida State Seminoles, Utah Utes and Illinois Fighting Illini."
Ontario: College support staff could walk off job by September 7 "More than 6,000 support staff at 24 Ontario community colleges are being asked to turn down their employer's latest offer and support a strike mandate during a province-wide vote on Thursday. 'This vote is not about a strike, it's about the members standing united to get a contract that respects, recognizes and rewards the work we do at the Colleges,' said Rod Bemister, chair of the support staff bargaining team."
Brandeis workers get new contract - The Boston Globe "A five-year contract ratified Aug. 3 by Service Employees Unternational Union Local 615, which represents both groups of custodial workers, includes an agreement between the university and two companies that it had subcontracted to clean on nights and weekends. Effective retroactively to July 1 of this year, workers for Hurley of America and SJD Inc. will now be paid a base rate of $14.63 per hour, up from $11.60 per hour"
Minnesota Daily : Union workers, University still talk ‘livable wage’ "Among the chief rallying cries for union workers negotiating a new contract with the University this summer has been the call for “a livable wage.” American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 leaders point to a study conducted in 2003 by the JOBS NOW Coalition, a St. Paul-based labor advocacy group, which states that a single parent with two children in the Twin Cities metro area needs $19.64 per hour to get by."
The Harvard Crimson Online :: News "Chanting spirited slogans and banging noisily on pots and pans, a crowd of approximately 25 janitors and union representatives traced a circle in front of the Holyoke Center last Friday to protest Harvard’s treatment of custodial workers."
Inside Higher Ed :: Florida's Faculty Free-for-All "When Florida overhauled its higher education system to shift power from the State Board of Regents to boards of trustees at individual campuses in 2003, it invalidated the employment contract between the regents and the statewide union that represented 10,000 professors, throwing academic labor relations into disarray. Last week, Florida’s Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s ruling that found the state’s action to be illegal — a decision heralded by faculty labor leaders, who vowed to try to recoup what they believed professors had lost in the intervening years."
Minnesota Daily : AFSCME proposes slidingscale health insurance system "To alleviate the strain placed on its workers by rapidly increasing health-care costs, AFSCME has proposed a sliding-scale insurance package in negotiations for a new contract. University officials began working on the terms of a new agreement in late June."
WANE-TV Coverage You Can Count On: Kent State, faculty reach tentative contract agreement "The president of Kent State University's faculty union says a tentative contract agreement has been reached to avoid a possible walkout."
Oregon Daily Emerald - University of Oregon news and sports - Classified workers, OUS reach agreement "After almost six months at the bargaining table with Oregon University System management, the Service Employees International Union reached an agreement on salary increases and benefits coverage."
News from The National Guild of Hypnotists "Guild President, Dr. Dwight Damon of Merrimack, N.H. is the keynote speaker on Friday, August 12 spearheading a distinguished adjunct faculty of 200 presenters from the U.S. and such other countries as Canada, Great Britain, Pakistan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Italy and France. A report on the current legislative status of the profession will also be presented by the National Federation of Hypnotists 104, OPEIU AFL-CIO, a national union for hypnotism professionals."
Organizers' Collaborative "Organizers' Collaborative is a membership organization of activists and technology consultants dedicated to providing social change groups with proven, easy-to-use technology and support that is specific to the needs of organizers. Organizers' Collaborative facilitates the use of low-cost, easy to use, and open source technologies in order to strengthen individual grassroots organizations and unify the progressive movement."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Minnesota: Students Organize Against Coke at McCalester "Among the speakers present were Juan Figueroa and Gerardo Cajamarca who discussed their own personal experiences with Coca-Cola destroying unions in Colombia (Pulse reported Coca-Cola’s ties to the paramilitary in Colombia in its October issue). Also present was Sanat Mohanty from Jamshedpur, India, who discussed Coca-Cola’s depletion of his country’s water supply through its manufacturing plants. Cajamarca, who worked in Colombia as a human rights investigator for SINAL TRAINAL, is now in exile in the United States. “Sinal has seen union members drop from 5,000 to 2,100,” he said. “Coca-Cola has been successful in breaking up unions.” He also estimates that 14,000 union leaders have been killed by the paramilitary. Cajamarca points to the recent assassination of union leader Esido Hill in front of the other bottlers as a tactic that the paramilitary has used to discourage unions. As more and more bottlers become subcontractors instead of union members, Coca-Cola saves money, as they only have to pay subcontractors half of what union members make. While Spain and France have been quite receptive to the problems with the Coca-Cola corporation, even creating documentaries on the issue, America has yet to fully catch on. Cajamarca says that while getting the word out against Coke has been tricky with larger media outlets, students have been receptive to the cause."
Rocky Mountain News: Education "Students at Metropolitan State College of Denver may notice some of their professors wearing armbands or stickers when classes resume Aug. 22. A movement is under way to try to organize the more than 710 part-time instructors at Metro around issues of pay, lack of health benefits and other working conditions." Union Website:
Florida A & M to see more changes happen "Florida A&M University President Castell Bryant wants to decrease the school's reliance on part-time faculty members and ensure those who have faculty contracts are teaching. Bryant, who has been interim president since January, said any new way of running the university will put students and faculty first. She blames the reliance on part-time faculty on past management decisions to place staff and administrative positions on faculty contracts. The practice dates back to the tenure of President Frederick Humphries, who left the university in 2001 after 16 years in the top post. 'This practice has mushroomed over the years into a policy that has resulted in the university having nearly twice as many contracts for nonteaching faculty lines as contracts for full-time teaching faculty members,' Bryant writes."
Pennsylvania: Lack of same-sex benefits costly for state university professors "As more colleges and universities nationwide extend health care benefits to same-sex partners, the faculty union that represents 5,500 professors at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities is still waiting for them - even though a contract ratified more than a year ago opened the door to same-sex benefits. That's because the pact doesn't require the State System of Higher Education to provide same-sex benefits unless the state extends similar 'domestic partner' benefits to other unionized state workers."
Bangkok: Activist monk found hanged "The monk had played a key role in community development work. He set up a learning centre to encourage residents to learn local arts and culture and was pursuing his master's degree at Maha Chulalongkorn Ratchawitthayalai Buddhist College. Police said the monk might have been suffering from the stress of his studies as he often complained about his thesis proposal."
The Chronicle of Higher Education: MIT Students Whose Phony Paper Brought a Conference Invitation Are Stars of Their Own Video "Three Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate students attracted a flurry of media attention in April after a questionable academic conference accepted their randomly-generated, nonsensical paper. Now the students are stars of a lighthearted video they made when they went to the conference even though their invitations had been withdrawn."
Oregon: University system, classified staff accept pact - 2005-08-01 "Oregon University System and the Service Employees International Union Local 503 have settled contract negotiations for OUS classified staff. The settlement, which includes salary and 'step' increases and full coverage of benefits in the first year, will now be taken by SEIU to its membership for a ratification vote. Classified workers register new students, make sure they know about health services on campus, manage grant programs, maintain buildings and grounds, and many other jobs."
Pennsylvania: College Coaches Threaten Strike "The start of the fall sports season may be in jeopardy for many Pennsylvania college and university students. Coaches at Pennsylvania's 14 state-run universities are threatening to strike over a contract dispute."

Monday, August 01, 2005

China goes to college - in a big way | "Several years ago, Chinese car manufacturer Geely grew concerned about a shortage of well-trained workers. Its solution: plunk down $800 million and start a private university. Even a decade ago, the idea would have been almost unimaginable. But in 2000, the sprawling campus of Beijing Geely University, with its Stanford-inspired quad, opened on the outskirts of Beijing - one of some 1,300 private universities that have sprung up in recent years. This September, Geely will enroll about 20,000 students, studying everything from engineering to character education to English."

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.