Category Archives: Unions


13 Ways of Looking at ‘Yeshiva’

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. 
It was a small part of the pantomime.

As you may well not have heard on your corporate nightly news, the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been near-paralyzed by years of Republican dirty tricks leading to resignations and scandal that included frequent leaking of confidential board proceedings to former Republican board members advising the Romney camp.  With the Department of Justice eyeballing the corporate hacks in question, howe…


On This Rock

Cary Nelson

Cary Nelson completes his third consecutive term as AAUP president next week. No one serving in that role has accomplished so much with so little against a mountain of obstacles that would have sent weaker personalities scurrying back to their carrels and laboratory benches. During his tenure, he averted near-certain financial collapse, calmed near-annual rebellions from the union affiliates, appeased traditionalists, weathered the unionization of the staff, oversaw the departure of …


Rejecting Government Offer, Quebec Students Persist in Historic Strike

A guest post by Lilian Radovac

Last Friday, representatives of Quebec’s student unions were summoned to emergency talks with the government. They were joined by college and university administrators and labor union leaders, whose goal was to hammer out an agreement that would end the 12-week long strike.

Meanwhile, members of the Quebec Liberal Party were gathering in Victoriaville, 70 miles southwest of the provincial capital, for the first day of their annual policy convention.

As negotiations…


The Biggest Student Uprising You’ve Never Heard Of

250,000 students pack the streets in largest demo in Quebec history

A guest post by Lilian Radovac. (BTW, SoCal readers may want to know that Marc is speaking at UC-Irvine a 4 p.m. 4/23 on New Media/New Protests.)

On an unseasonably warm day in late March, a quarter of a million postsecondary students and their supporters gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years.  As the crowd marched in seemingly endless w…


Grad Students Fight Sleazy Union Law

A guest post by Andrew Yale

Back in 2004, Bush appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stripped private-university teaching and research assistants of the right to unionize, reversing a unanimous, bipartisan decision in 2000. The NLRB now has an opportunity to restore their rights. All that’s required is actually ruling on a petition for a union election brought by the Graduate Student Organizing Committee at New York University in April 2010.

Due to Republican shenanigans in the…


So You Want to Work in Publishing?

I ask this question probably six times a month: “So, you want to work in publishing? What do you think a job in publishing is like?”

The bright-eyed students who sit, smiling, across from me in my over-stuffed, over-heated basement office will spin tales where the act something they refer to as “lunches with writers” figures largely. They’ve collected impressions of what life as an Editorial Assistant is like from reading dour novels by young authors, watching Sex and The City or Mad Men, and fr…


Campus Occupations Intensify

a guest post by Zach Schwartz-Weinstein

November 9, 2011 may be another turning point in the relationship between the occupation movement and campus activism.

Students have played a leading role in the occupations at Wall Street and around the U.S., not to mention the occupation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Spanish indignado movement, and the ongoing student struggles against austerity across Europe. In fact, the “occupy everything” meme first gained purchase on this side of the Atlantic via …


Not an Abyss, Ms. Riley

That “thing” between high school students with poor skills and a college education is not an abyss, Ms. Riley: It is a trench dug by the moneyed to keep the offspring of the underclass in their place.

Don’t think “abyss” or “gorge” or any other landscape feature created by natural causes when you think of the failure of large public schools in poor urban areas.

Don’t think “gap.” Think “moat.”

I’m lucky: My students from UConn are teaching in small and large schools across the country and they …


Teach-in at Occupied New York City

Gayatri Spivak at the teach-in at Washington Square: “I believe you can win if we keep this will for social justice alive. Logistics are important. Pizzas are important. But the real demand–is to win.”

A guest post by Bob Samuels

I went to several Occupy Wall Street events on October 16 to talk about student debt, unemployment, and the academic labor system.  In the morning, checked out Zuccotti Park, and I found that the site is serving as a training center and launching platform for occupati…


All the News Fit for Bankers?

(via Reddit)

Across the country—in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, and over 100 other locations—marches, organizing meetings and tent cities have begun. Thousands are marching. Hundreds have been arrested.

Above, see an interesting example of our friends at The New York Times (NYT) spinning their coverage. Interestingly, I’ve just had an exchange on the subject of that paper’s self-proclaimed “impartiality,” which it used as an excuse to formally reprimand Chris Hedges…


For Whom Does The Bell Toll?


I watched the second plane hit a tower I’d visited many times. I know people who suffered from the attack, and people who responded. But I think we reacted with poor judgement, have allowed hate to win, and failed to take responsibility for the injustices that we continue to perpetrate globally.

Just for starters, there’s plenty to mull over in the long media silence over US complicity in the overthrow of Allende and the Pinochet dictatorship, in the first 9/11, September 11, 1973.


It’s the Inequality, Stupid

This clip features strong adult language.

So I’m supposed to be finishing my entry, “Labor,” for the second edition of Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler’s widely adopted Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Yay, I’m in the volume, but also totally depressing.

I mean, it’s a class war out there and labor’s lost every battle since I started shaving. And by “labor,” I don’t mean some cartoon of a hard hat, broom pushing, or stoop labor. I mean the folks reading this column. Pretty much everybod…


Employment: Every Day is Labor Day

Note: the first fifteen seconds or so of the film are intentionally dark. Don’t worry: he wakes up and turns on the light!

Do yourself a favor and give five minutes of any of your 250 or so labor days this year to El Empleo (“Employment”), an extraordinary award-winning 2008 animation by Argentine illustrators Santiago Grasso and Patricio Gabriel Plaza.

You won’t need any help interpreting the film’s conceit, which makes visible the complex web of relationships in capitalist production: of wor…


Is Hershey a Work-Study Scapegoat?

The real scandal of Hershey’s exploitation of hundreds of international student workers is that it isn’t actually news.

Kudos to the students, who revolted en masse after paying  a labor contractor $3,000 to $6,000 apiece to get $8.25/hour summer warehouse jobs in sweltering central Pennsylvania, and also to the U.S. labor associations to whom they appealed, Jobs With Justice and the National Guestworkers Alliance. Clearly, positive consumer associations with the Hershey brand helped students an…


Your Employer Knows Everything

Like most tenured academics, I rather doubt I will ever leave the job I have. Why would I? I love teaching at Middlebury. But now I have another reason to not leave. I don’t think I could pass the increasingly invasive background checks that some companies are conducting via the Internet. These background checks will find everything you ever said or did not just on Facebook or Twitter, but even cranky comments on blog sites or sexting with your lover.

It’s bad enough that prospective employers c…


Giggling at Stereotypes

When we added humorous chapter books (eg Roscoe Riley) to my three-year-old’s story time, we were appalled to find that one of them featured one of the cruder and, we thought, outmoded Asian stereotypes–the New Kid from the Black Lagoon, it turns out, is not the scary blue-skinned alien from Mars that the other kids imagined, but simply Xu Ping, whose family has flown all the way from Beijing to start–you guessed it, a Chinese restaurant. How reassuring.

When planning her own recent humorous cha…


For AAUP, the Beginning of an Era

Nearly three years after his hitch began, Gary Rhoades leaves the AAUP much stronger than he found it.  He forged strong relationships between the national elected leadership and  the big collective bargaining chapters. He was an especially successful ambassador to AFT and NEA. He made a series of small but important spending reforms. He led several critical organizing drives.

As general secretary, the organization’s top staff position, Rhoades had a darned difficult job during a once-in-a-half-…


What Tenure Gets You: A Reply to Naomi Schaefer Riley

All right already. I’ve ignored your posts suggesting that college girls should walk around with T-shirts proclaiming “lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine.” I’ve overlooked your screeds defending evangelicals “who act the way they think Christ wants them to” (as if they alone got the memo).

But as we say in Brooklyn, enough is enough.

Tenure doesn’t get you, anything, Naomi. But people who believe education is a Good Thing? It gets us a lot.

Students, particularly the best ones, benefi…


Occupying the Airwaves

No Justice, No Peace

No Justice, No Peace: The Return of Nonviolent Direct Action

May 17 is the 57th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, and educators across the country are on the march once again.

At 1 pm EST you can catch the live broadcast from the National Press Club for the launch of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education. Here in California, where teachers and activists occupied the state capitol last week, you can join a watching party on any Cal State campus. A massive coalition of educato…