Category Archives: Labor Issues


Graduate Students in 6 Departments at Yale Vote to Unionize

After months of legal disputes, graduate students in six academic departments at Yale University have voted to unionize, joining the union of graduate employees, Local 33, on Thursday, the Yale Daily News reports.

The departments of English, geology and geophysics, history, history of art, mathematics, and sociology voted to join the union in the elections. Students in two other departments, East Asian languages and literatures and political science, are still waiting on the results of challenge…


Jury Awards $2.5 Million to Ex-Employee at UC-Riverside in Gender-Bias Case

A jury has ordered the University of California to pay a former employee on its Riverside campus $2.5 million for violating state law when it fired her after she reported gender discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Michele Coyle, who was chief campus counsel until 2012, filed a civil complaint in 2015 alleging that she and other female staff members had been the victims of “rampant gender discrimination” by the university’s executive vice chancellor at the time, Dallas M. Rabenstein.



New Study Charts Recent Proliferation of Faculty Unions

The number of faculty unions at the nation’s colleges has surged, with most of the growth the result of efforts by the Service Employees International Union to organize private colleges’ non-tenure-track instructors, a new study has found.

In the first nine months of 2016 alone, the National Labor Relations Board certified 20 new collective-bargaining units at private colleges, concludes the study, published online this week in the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy. SEIU’s organizi…


U. of Oregon Law Professor Who Wore Blackface Violated Policy, Report Says

Nancy Shurtz, a law professor at the University of Oregon, committed “discriminatory harassment” by wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume during a party at her house, according to an investigative report released on Wednesday by the university.

After the party Ms. Shurtz was placed on leave, and some of her law colleagues called on her to resign. In a written statement, the university’s provost said any disciplinary action taken against Ms. Shurtz would be confidential.

According to t…


In Milestone, Columbia U. Graduate Students Vote to Unionize

[Updated (12/9/2016, 5:16 p.m.) with comments from the university.]

Research and teaching assistants at Columbia University have voted to unionize as the Graduate Workers of Columbia, an affiliate of the United Auto Workers union, according to a news release issued on Friday by the union.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled in August that graduate students who serve as research and teaching assistants at Columbia were primarily employees, not students, and so could unionize under federal la…


AAUP Warns of Historic Threat to Academic Freedom Posed by Trump

The American Association of University Professors warned in a statement on Wednesday that many college faculty members fear that President-elect Donald J. Trump “may be the greatest threat to academic freedom since the McCarthy period.”

The organization’s first public statement on the election cited statements made by Mr. Trump and policies he has proposed that it said would threaten academic freedom.

“His remarks about minorities, immigrants, and women have on some campuses had a chilling effec…


Harvard’s Dining-Hall Workers ‘Achieved Every Goal’ in Strike

Harvard University will pay its full-time dining-hall workers at least $35,000 a year and cover additional health-care costs, The Harvard Crimson reports.

The university and the union representing the roughly 750 workers were at odds over salaries and health coverage during their negotiations. The workers went on strike in early October, after talks broke down. They had asked for a minimum salary of $35,000 and affordable health care.

The union, Unite Here Local 26, released details of the agree…


Harvard Reaches Tentative Deal With Striking Dining-Hall Workers

Harvard University reached a tentative agreement early Tuesday with the union representing the campus’s 750 dining-hall workers, bringing an apparent end to their strike after nearly three weeks, The Harvard Crimson reports.

Details of the agreement have not yet been released, but the union’s president, Brian Lang, told the Crimson that the deal “accomplished all of our goals.” The workers had asked for increased wages and for Harvard not to raise out-of-pocket health-care costs.

Students have s…


Faculty Strike Ends in Settlement at Pennsylvania’s State-Owned Colleges

Striking faculty members in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will return to class no later than Monday after three days of picketing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The faculty union, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, which has 5,500 members, said in a news release that it had made concessions on salaries and benefits in order to reach a tentative, three-year agreement. In exchange, the state system will drop more than 200 proposed cha…


Universities in Pennsylvania State System Brace for Possible Faculty Strike

Faculty members in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education plan to go on strike Wednesday morning if contract negotiations do not yield a new contract, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

System officials and union representatives continued their talks on Tuesday in hopes of averting a strike. An embargo on the negotiations has kept students, staff members, and the public in the dark, but an agreement seems possible. The union signaled in a statement on Friday that it would stay at t…