More Taint on the Ivory Tower

ACADEME BLOG

What follows is a petition posted to Change-org by Seth Alterman, asking for public support for a petition protesting the elimination of the campus police force at Dean College, which is located outside of Boston. The officers had just chosen to unionize when the college suddenly announced that it was outsourcing campus security services.

This situation may seem a small thing to focus on this blog. It involves fewer than a dozen and a half employees at a small college. But this situation is indicative of the relentless privatization and corporatization of our institutions, and whenever we ignore any situation of this kind, we are acquiescing incrementally to a trend that will ultimately—and very likely sooner rather than later—overwhelm us all.

It is extremely ironic that even as administrative bloat is reaching obscene dimensions, more and more lower-paying service jobs within our institutions are being outsourced—maintenance and custodial services, dining…

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A Ruling In Favor of Friedrichs Will Hurt Education

ACADEME BLOG

This unsigned opinion piece was published through the Institute for America’s Future of the Campaign for America’s Future [http://ourfuture.org/], which has become a driving force behind the New Populist Movement.

The group’s report, Organizing to Take Back America: The New Populist Movement, is available at: http://y.ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/New-Populist-Movement-Organizing.pdf. Prepared by Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, the report identifies twelve key principles underlying this new progressive effort to provide an effective grassroots alternative to the Tea Party movement on the Far Right.

The post is reprinted with the permission of Roger Hickey.

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Earlier this month, news about a US Supreme Court case Friedrichs v California Teachers Association raised concerns for progressives everywhere – and for good reason. As my colleague Dave Johnson writes, the case is about “making every state a ‘right-to-work’ state, and suppressing unions and wages.” So this case is another…

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A 2016 New Year’s Message from China’s Labor Community

ACADEME BLOG

Dear Fellow Workers, Compatriots, and Friends from around the World:

Happy New Year!

Toward the end of 2015, the labor community in China experienced an unprecedented attack. A group of activists who have dedicated years to defending the rights and interests of workers were detained, monitored and interrogated by the police. It could have been a moment for fear and paranoia to set in. But those in the labor community and other walks of life responded quickly by drafting a petition to the Communist Party Central Committee, National People’s Congress, and State Council. The petition described in no uncertain terms the severe and widespread violations of workers’ rights and interests over the last few decades, and the inevitable emergence of independent labor NGOs and worker centers and their valuable contribution to the protection of labor rights and social justice, and demanded the release of the detained activists. In less than…

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Literally, a Singular Illustration of the Corporate Media’s Disregard, if Not Disdain, for American Labor

ACADEME BLOG

The following item was written by Peter Dreier for the blog Talking Union:

“Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, has fired columnist Harold Meyerson, one of the nation’s finest journalists and perhaps the only self-proclaimed socialist to write a weekly column for a major American newspaper during the past decade or two.

“At a time when America is experiencing an upsurge of progressive organizing and activism—from Occupy Wall Street, to Black Lives Matter, to the growing movement among low-wage workers demanding higher minimum wages, to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president—we need a regular columnist who can explain what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what it means.

“More than any other columnist for a major U.S. newspaper, Meyerson provided ongoing coverage and incisive analysis of the nation’s labor movement and other progressive causes as well as the changing economy and the increasing aggressiveness of big business…

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Updates on the Detention of Chinese Labor Activists

ACADEME BLOG

I recently re-posted a piece by Paul Garver on the detention of labor activists in China. Paul edits the Talking Union blog of the Democratic Socialists of America, and I included the re-post of his piece in a somewhat broader article on labor activism in China: http://academeblog.org/2015/12/10/supporting-the-emerging-chinese-labor-movement-on-international-human-rights-day/.

That post was then re-posted on the Facebook page of the Red Balloon Solidarity Group: https://www.facebook.com/redballoonsolidarity.

Although that page is largely in Chinese, another site called libcom.org has provided an English-language summary of the updates on the Red Ballon site from December 9 through December 16: http://libcom.org/news/updates-guangdong-seven-december-16.

If you wish to show support for the labor activists who have been detained by the Chinese government, you can sign a petition for college and university faculty available at:http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/scholars-opposing-the-abuse-of-state-power.

The petition has already been signed by faculty from a very broad range of colleges and universities worldwide.

Here is the…

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“Right to Work” by the Numbers: Part 12: Unemployment Rates in Mid-December 2015

ACADEME BLOG

The “right-to-work” states are indicated in red, and the pro-labor states in white:

US Map 1

Compare that map with this map indicating the state unemployment rates reported on December 18, 2015:

Unemployement 2015-12-18

In the Ohio House, legislation has been introduced to impose “right-to-work” restrictions on private-sector unions, with the primary argument for the measure being the now very tired assertion that pro-labor states cannot compete economically with “right-to-work” states—that pro-labor states are at a decided disadvantage in attracting job-creating companies.

A comparison of these two maps provides no support for those claims.

Such a comparison also does not support the assertion that Ohio cannot compete with adjacent states that have recently passed “right-to-work” legislation: Indiana and Wisconsin are doing only very marginally better in terms of employment and Michigan is doing worse.

Moreover, look at the job-creation statistics that have just been reported:

Table D.  States with statistically significant employment changes from November 2014…

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Supporting the Emerging Chinese Labor Movement on International Human Rights Day

ACADEME BLOG

The following was posted to the Talking Union blog by Paul Garver:

Free Chinese Labor Activists

I am writing this on the evening of 9th December in the USA, but in Hong Kong it is already the morning of 10th December. At this moment labor and human rights activists are converging on the Western Police Station in Hing Kong to demand that the Mainland Chinese authorities in neighboring Guangdong Province release several labor rights activists rounded up over the last few days.

December 10th is International Human Rights Day, intended to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Chinese authorities, panicked by an accelerating wave of actions by workers protesting factory closures and non-payment of wages, are trying to stifle workers’ desperate defensive protests by detaining labor rights activists and closing worker rights centers.

This is no trivial matter. The Pearl River Delta on the mainland opposite Hong Kong represents the…

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Columbus Dispatch Discourages Passage of “Right-to-Work” Legislation

ACADEME BLOG

In an editorial titled “Don’t Pick a New Fight: After Repeal of Senate Bill 5, Ohio Doesn’t Need Another Labor Battle,” the editors of the Columbus Dispatch, a newspaper not known for its support of labor unions, have publicly discouraged the members of the Ohio House from passing HB 377, which would impose “right-to-work” restrictions on private-sector unions in Ohio.

Here are some highlights from the editorial:

“Pragmatically, it is hard to believe this bill stands a chance. The temperature of the state hasn’t changed much since 2011, when Senate Bill 5 took a drubbing, 62 to 38 percent, in a ballot referendum.

“Legislative leaders already are said to be cool to the bill. They realize little would be gained by handing organized labor such a golden issue at a time when Ohio’s job numbers are up, the nation is entering another presidential cycle with Ohio as a battleground…

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The Rather Innocuous Introduction of a Bad Bill

ACADEME BLOG

Here is the “right to work” legislation introduced in the Ohio House this morning:

HB 377 UNION DUES (Brinkman, T.) To prohibit any requirement that employees of private employers join or pay dues to any employee organization and to establish civil and criminal penalties against employers who violate that prohibition. En. 4119.01, 4119.02, 4119.04, 4119.05, 4119.06, 4119.07, 4119.08, and 4119.99.

Introduced in House (10/22/2015)

In an earlier post, I reported on Brinkman’s announcement that he intended to introduce this bill, which would affect private-sector, and not public-sector, unions in Ohio: see: http://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/walker-in-reverse-right-to-work-for-just-the-private-sector-to-be-introduced-in-ohio-house/. I noted in that post that either Brinkman’s bill is an effort to test again whether union solidarity can be undermined or it is underlain by the assumption that the Supreme Court will eliminate “fair share” for public-sector unions in its ruling on the Friedrichs case.

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A Model for Union Activism against Neoliberal Education Reforms—from Mexico

ACADEME BLOG

Sin acuerdos concluyó esta tarde la mesa de negociación entre el Ejecutivo local y los integrantes de la Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), por lo que las autoridades se comprometieron a entregar este sábado 16 de junio, una segunda respuesta que será analizada por los magisteriales. Fot La jornada Michaocan

The following paragraphs are from an article Lois Meyer and Ricardo Rosa published by Truthout on October 15:

“The weakening of the public sphere in US education, painful as it is, is minor compared to recent developments in Mexico. For nearly two years, tens of thousands of Mexican teachers have mobilized against so-called ‘education reforms,’ especially in the southeastern Mexican state of Oaxaca, though virtually nothing of this massive teacher movement has been reported in mainstream US media. In Oaxaca and beyond, protesting Mexican teachers have demonstrated, gone on strike, seized buildings, closed highways and confronted the police and army, mainly nonviolently. According to the reformist teacher union movement (the CNTE), the ‘education reforms’ imposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration have nothing to do with educational improvement and everything to do with an aggressive neoliberal political agenda, the privatization of schools and attacks on hard-earned labor union rights and protections…

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