Wednesday, September 9, 2020

KSNT: UK students plan strike over rising COVID cases

 As positive COVID-19 cases rose to 546 on University of Kansas's campus last week, student organizing group the Jayhawk Liberation Front began organizing a student strike demanding a campus closure. Local NBC affiliate KSNT reports that students participating in the strike would not show up for scheduled classes or, in the case of online classes, not log on and email their professors informing them of their participation in the strike.

The petition demanding closure specifically calls out campus leadership for endangering the health of not only students on campus, but the surrounding community as well. Demands also include free exit testing, housing for students in need, and hazard pay for those who have to work.

Freep, News: UM grad students vote to strike

 Both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News are reporting that the roughly 1,000 member Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) at the University of Michigan (UM) has voted in favor of a strike against what members of the union say are unsafe working conditions in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Strikers will face an uphill battle as a new contract was just ratified in April and public sector strikes are illegal in Michigan, School officials are already speaking out against the action to the press claiming that it violates the terms of the contract that prevent GEO members from interfering with University business.

GEO points to the ongoing pandemic and the summer's uprisings against police brutality as evidence that, while a contract was agreed to in April, there are new issues that need agreement between the union and the university. Among the unions demands are calls for greater flexibility in how graduate students are able to conduct their work, including remote instruction, increased testing, and contract tracing. There are also calls for greater support for international students, ending university cooperation with police, and extensions on degree completion.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Inside Higher Ed: Professors organizing for Sept. 8-9 #ScholarStrike and Online Teach-in for Racial Justice

 University of Pennsylvania Professor, Dr. Anthea Butler, was inspired by what she saw when the WNBA, NBA, and numerous other sports leagues saw players strike to bring attention to ongoing issues of racial justice and white supremacist terror in this country when she began organizing a #ScholarStrike earlier this week. Joined by Dr. Kevin Gannon, the two have put together a Google form for academics interested in organizing or earning more about the planned Sept 8-9 action.

Inside Higher Ed has a story up on their site about organizing efforts and you can follow the #ScholarStrike tag on social media to follow developments.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Jacobin: The challenges of organizing book industry workers

 Jacobin Magazine has published an article earlier this week that will likely be of interest to many readers of the Union Library Workers blog:

"Why Organizing Workers in the Book Industry Is So Damn Hard" by 

Bethany Patch and Joshua Barnes can be read here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Post: D.C. Public Library Workers raising concerns about coronavirus safety

Towards the end of last week, the Washington Post reported that, despite the assurances of the library system head, library workers in the Washington D.C. public library system are raising what they say are serious concerns with safety around the spread of the coronavirus.

Employees in the system, which opened much more aggressively and earlier than many other public libraries across the country, say that the libraries are keeping them in the dark about potential cases and exposures, have failed to implement sufficient cleaning protocols, and are struggling with mask requirements. While many neighboring systems are limited to curbside access only, D.C. has opened up the inside of 14 locations across the city.

Monday, July 20, 2020

SEIU: Workers in 25+ Cities Walk Off Jobs to Confront Systemic Racism

In a press release issued July 8th, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reported that thousands of workers in 25+ cities organized by SEIU, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, United Farm Workers, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Fight for $15 and a Union would walk off the job July 20th to demand action from corporations and the government to confront systemic racism.

Workers who cannot strike for the entire day will walk off the job for 8 minutes, the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, to draw attention to the issues of systemic violence directed towards Black people in the United States.

Along with the press release above, you can also find more information on the action on the Strike for Black Lives website.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Reuters: NLRB considering abolishing or scaling back contract bar doctrine

Reuters is reporting that the National Labor Relations Board has put out a call for amicus briefs regarding the status of contract bar doctrine.

The doctrine, a long established precedent observed by the NLRB, prevents union decertification elections for three years after a collective bargaining agreement comes into effect.

The doctrine is being challenged by a poultry plant employee in Delaware, represented by the National Right to Work Defense Foundation, who claims that the precedent restricts employees "free choice."