Some Guarded Good News from Ohio—When Any Good News Is Certainly Worth Celebrating

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

This post is an elaboration on a message that was sent to the members of our chapter at Wright State University, which itself was collaboratively drafted and developed from a message distributed by the chapter leadership at the University of Cincinnati. (In these kinds of things, it is “collaboration” and “sharing,” not “plagiarism.”)

We have had good news from Columbus:

Late on Monday afternoon, the House Finance Committee removed  the “Yeshiva” language from HB 64! That language would have eliminated the collective bargaining rights of more than 10,000 faculty at Ohio’s public colleges and universities by reclassifying them as managers.

We offer a big thanks to everyone who worked to make this happen.

A very heartfelt and personal thank you to all of our chapter members who came to President David Hopkins’ office this morning and stood outside while I met with him. By your presence this morning, you demonstrated our collective resolve…

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Sneak Attack on Faculty Collective Bargaining Rights in Ohio!!!

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Earlier today, Tuesday, April 14, House Republicans unveiled Substitute House Bill 64, which contained their revisions to the governor’s budget.

Most alarming about the substitute bill were new provisions that would reclassify faculty as managers if they participate in any sort of decision-making at their institutions.

If faculty are managers, then they are not employees, which means they are ineligible to participate in collective bargaining.

The Legislative Service Commission’s comparison document of the executive budget versus the current version explains how the current version would change Ohio Revised Code Section 4117:

–Specifies, for the purposes of Ohio’s Public Employees’ Collective Bargaining Law, that faculty members of state institutions of higher education are considered supervisors or management level employees if they participate in decisions with respect to courses, curriculum, personnel, or other matters of academic or institutional policy.

–Specifies further that faculty members are considered management level employees if they participate…

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Thomas Perez on the Uneven Economic Recovery, Income Inequality, and the Need for Strong Labor Unions

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

This is a carefully prepared, persuasive, and at times eloquent speech.

It would have been nice if such speeches had been given more consistently at the beginning of the Obama presidency, instead of at the tail end of it, and if they had reflected a broader and louder political focus on protecting and promoting labor rights.

The president’s statement on the passage of “right to work” in Wisconsin, which is cited in this speech, follows a general silence–at least off the campaign trail–on the convulsive labor issues in states across the Midwest, issues that were brought to a head with the Great Recession and the Far Right’s expedient conflation of state budget crises and the supposed “excesses” of public-employee unions.

In the next presidential election cycle, labor unions need to demand more than rhetoric from ostensibly pro-labor candidates. We need to demand some identification of specific policy proposals that will protect and promote…

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Why a Good Plumber Is Getting as Hard to Find as a Tenure-Track Position

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

We have all noticed how hard it is to find a reputable electrician or plumber. But almost no one ever asks, never mind addresses, why this shortage has developed.

The major reason that so few people are going into the trades is that, more often than not, doing so leads to just another kind of low-wage job.

Operating a small business as an independent contractor requires substantial operating monies up front, which completely eliminates it as a possibility for most young people from working-class, never mind even more economically disadvantaged, backgrounds. Such a business is also very difficult to sustain. To have any chance of succeeding in such a business, one needs not only vocational certification in the trade but also at least an associates degree in business. Because the demand for services always fluctuates, one inevitably needs at least a partner, if not employees, the cost of which will…

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A Posthumous Honor for Ted Kennedy for His Support of Labor

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez,
Induction of Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Into the Department of Labor Hall of Honor
Washington, D.C.,
March 12, 2015

[as prepared for delivery]

Thank you, Chris. Mrs. Kennedy, Teddy, Patrick, Secretary Brock, Secretary Herman, friends, colleagues, thank you so much for joining us today.

I looked it up, and in the history of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the all-time top vote-getter is Tom Seaver with 98.8 percent. With all due respect, I believe that Senator Kennedy was an even more effective advocate for workers than Mr. Seaver was a pitcher. And so I’m proud to say that we’re inducting him today thanks to a 100 percent unanimous vote.

It’s wonderful to look out into this audience and see so many old friends and familiar faces. The Kennedy diaspora is out in full force, that’s for sure. Just about everyone who…

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For All of Its Flaws, NAFTA Was Not Negotiated with This Level of Secrecy

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

The item below is from the Campaign for America’s Future. It is re-posted with the permission of its Co-Director, Roger Hickey.

The item provides a succinct description of how the agreement is being shaped to corporate priorities.

Although it does not address the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on academic institutions both here and abroad, higher education is becoming a major priority and, increasingly, “big business” in the nations of East Asia.

So, given the increasing corporatization of our institutions, the escalating efforts to privatize public education in the U.S., the relentless insistence that technology can be used to cut instructional allocations even farther than they have already been cut, and the concerns about the higher-ed-related provisions in the revised GATT agreements, it is difficult to imagine that this deal is going to be a largely good thing for higher education, either here or elsewhere.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)…

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The Numbers Support Patricia Arquette, Not Her Critics (And They Indicate a Truth about “Right to Work” as Well)

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Patricia Arquette is being slammed from both the Left and the Right for her comments during and after her acceptance speech for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

From the Left, the criticism has come largely from other disadvantaged groups who feel that her focus was too narrowly on women’s issues, especially in a year in which the nominees for the Academy Awards included almost no people of color.

But from the Right, the criticism was directed more at the basic validity of what she was saying. An item in the Los Angeles Times includes this illustration of that criticism: “On “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, the actress and pundit Stacey Dash slammed Arquette for the issue, saying she was ‘appalled’ by the moment and admonished her for not ‘do[ing] her history’ on the 1963 Equal Pay Act.’” [The full article is available at:

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Major Attack on Public-Employee Unions in Illinois

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

The recently inaugurated Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, has signed an executive order banning public-employee unions from collecting fair-share contributions from those employees who choose not to belong to the unions that represent them.

I very recently did a post on the very skewed logic behind “right to work” legislation—see

Rauner, previously the CEO of a private-equity firm, would like to see Illinois become a “right to work” state and has advocated that local communities pass right-to-work ordinances that apply all public and private unions since the Democratic control of both houses of the legislature makes the passage of such legislation seemingly impossible on a statewide level.

Rauner has presented three main arguments for imposition of “right to work,” all of which have become as commonplace as they are misleading.

The first of Rauner’s arguments is that workers should not have to be represented by unions to which…

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“Right to Work” Provides Workers with Many Rights

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

“Right to work” provides workers on the losing side in a vote to unionize a workplace with the right to decide that the results of that democratic vote do not apply to them.

“Right to work” provides workers with the right to benefit from unions to which they do not pay any dues.

“Right to work” provides workers in a unionized workplace with the right to receive the same negotiated wage increases and benefits as their colleagues who are paying union dues.

“Right to work” provides workers in a unionized workplace with the right to receive the same protections, grievance rights, and union representation as their colleagues who are paying union dues.

“Right to work” provides workers in a unionized workplace with the right to sue the union for inadequate representation even if they have refused to pay dues to that union.

“Right to work” provides individual workers with the…

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When Truthful Answers Are So Very Hard to Find

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

I received this somewhat lengthy item in my e-mail this evening; perhaps financial desperation is making people more amenable to reading the longer pieces that we have been repeatedly warned that no one bothers to read anymore:

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First, I am shocked that according to, one-third of Baby Boomers will survive retirement. I am not sure what post-retirement life involves, but I am very interested in exploring the options, on the off-chance that my “clean living” doesn’t cut short my life prematurely.

Second, this sort of e-mail has actually become very commonplace among Far-Right media sources. Apparently, amid all the reports of the manifold ways in which President Obama is subverting the Constitution, conniving to eliminate the rights of real Americans, clandestinely imposing Sharia Law, and setting the stage for his political opponents to be eliminated by plagues, by terrorists, and by rampaging mobs of lawless illegal immigrants and…

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