Category Archives: Academic Labor

Unions, contracts, and campus-labor matters.


After a Week of Protest, U. of Utah Cancer Researcher Is Reinstated

A week after the University of Utah announced that the chief executive and director of its Huntsman Cancer Institute was leaving her post, she’s been reinstated.

In a written statement, the university’s president, David W. Pershing, confirmed the decision to keep Mary Beckerle.

“Effective today we have changed HCI’s reporting structure, and Dr. Beckerle will report directly to the president of the university,” the statement said. “I am grateful for her committed leadership and look forward to wo…


Adjuncts at Colorado Community Colleges Lack Academic-Freedom Protections, AAUP Says

The American Association of University Professors is citing the firing of a Colorado adjunct instructor as evidence of a broader lack of academic freedom for part-time faculty members throughout that state’s community-college system.

The case of Nathanial Bork, who lost his job at the Community College of Aurora last fall after he complained to its accreditor about a new curriculum there, “exposes the absence of adequate procedural protections for the adjunct faculty in the regulations of the …


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…


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…


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…


NYU Says Leave Was Voluntary for Professor Who Criticized Political Correctness

An assistant professor at New York University says he was put on paid leave for tweeting against political correctness, but the university says his leave was voluntary.

Michael Rectenwald, an untenured faculty member in liberal studies, told the New York Post he had been forced to take leave after colleagues complained about his “incivility.”

In September, Mr. Rectenwald started an anonymous Twitter account to argue against safe spaces, trigger warnings, and political correctness. He later admit…


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…


Faculty at Pennsylvania’s State-Owned Colleges Launch First-Ever Classroom Strike

Faculty members at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned colleges and universities hit the picket lines on Wednesday morning as the system’s faculty union declared a strike over failed contract negotiations. It’s the first ever classroom strike in the history of the system, which enrolls more than 100,000 students.

Negotiations over a new contract for the system’s roughly 5,000 faculty members fell apart late Tuesday night, with the union and the administration giving differing accounts of what had been…


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…