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, however, the NLRB may finally be set to address academic labor issues.
Several of the regional NLRB panels have already decided core higher ed cases; just last month a federal judge spanked Chicago’s Columbia College for interfering with faculty union activities, ordering them to the bargaining table, posthaste.
Evidently the national NLRB plans to make up for lost time. Over the next few…
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 two general secretaries, rode out nearly-continuous irrational litigation, renovated an appallingly dysfunctional membership operation, herded the cats of Committee A, and brought communications to the very brink of modernization.
He never gave up on his efforts to refashion the organization into an institution…
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 began, buses shuttled thousands of students and their supporters to the Liberals’ conference. Organizers moved the convention site to a location far from Montreal in a futile effort to prevent the mass demonstrations that have occurred daily—and now nightly—in the city’s streets for months.
Clashes quickly erupted between protesters and provincial riot police. According to…
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 waves from Place du Canada, dotted with the carrés rouges, or red squares, that have become the symbol of the Quebec student movement, it was plainly obvious that this demonstration was the largest in Quebec’s, and perhaps Canadian, history.
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 Senate, however, there is effectively a deadline of the end of the year. Considering that the new year is less than a month away, private-university administrations may be breathing a sigh of relief. Without a ruling, the law will enable them to legally refuse recognition of graduate employee unions, even if a majority of employees wish to form one.
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 from movies so old their characters are still permitted to smoke indoors.
I believe it’s part of my job to help them understand what their futures might hold.
But of course, I listen to them first. The most honest ones explain, sotto voce, that they only want to work publishing until their own writing “takes off.” They believe that a job at a magazine, trade publishing house, academic press…
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 building occupations at the New School and NYU and across the UC and Cal State systems in 2008 and 2009.
However, Wednesday’s U.S. student actions are on a grander scale than earlier events. They may represent the first major sustained campus occupations in the post-Tahrir, Occupy Wall Street era.
California Is Burning Again Some 3000-4000 occupiers were assembled at UC…
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 keep me posted; I feel as if I hear about what’s going in our nation’s classrooms from those who are doing the real work of teaching. Several of them are part of Teach for America, while others have found their positions through the more traditional routes: getting their M.A.’s in either Education or English, getting certified to teach through other programs, or being hired by…
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.”
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 occupation events spreading across the city and the globe.
In the morning, I marched with a few thousand students and workers to several banks around Wall Street. The crowd was very organized and polite. There is a lot of spontaneity in this movement, which really is leaderless and highly democratic. While I came to New York looking to see if there was any strong organization or set of…
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, whose blistering op-ed adorns the front page of the Occupied Wall Street journal.
Regular readers know that I’ve previously questioned the NYT’s bias, particularly on education issues.
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.
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 everybody, actually: If you work in order to live, or scrub the toilet/feed the appetites of a wage worker, you’re labor.
Then today I find out that Wilma Liebman, one of the few people in the academy or anywhere, to give a hoot about academic labor, is ending her long service to the National Labor Relations Board because an army of trolls in wingtips has been coming after her, as she puts it, “…
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 workers to consumers, employers, and each other; between wage workers and those who transport, educate, and feed them, etc.
Enjoying that computer? A young Chinese woman poisoned herself and her future children while assembling it. Proud of your college degree? A male administrator got rich while degrading nontenurable women faculty to produce it, and a whole bunch of other folks who…
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 and their allies to package the sleazy arrangement as newsworthy (“It’s no Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” etc. etc.), but the only real news in the story is that this particular group of hyper-exploited students organized themselves. Which is great. However, since they’re guest workers and the slow-news, this chocolate-ain’t-sweet angle will grow stale in days, they’ll be out of the…
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 can (mostly illegally) Google you, check out your Facebook page, or generally stalk you, but now they can pay for a service that goes far deeper into your public persona. According to an article in The New York Times:
A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence, scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.
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 chapter book, Brainstorm colleague Naomi Schaefer Riley (no relation to Roscoe) apparently didn’t get the memo that the “lazy professor” stereotype has been consigned to the cultural dustbin since, roughly, her own graduation from kindergarten. As you might surmise from the title (The Faculty Lounges–har har–And Other Reasons You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For), the book relies…
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-century crisis and organizational re-definition.
On his watch, AAUP’s own staff unionized (with the full support of the elected leadership). Rhoades successfully managed the transition into the period covered by that first contract.
The organization completed a complex three-way partition that clarified the relationships between its three roles as a foundation, professional association,…
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).