Friday, October 18, 2019

CBS: Chicago Teachers Union on Strike, Need for School Librarians Among Issues

For the second time in seven years, 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU Local 1) walked out Thursday morning and were still out Friday, Chicago's local CBS affiliate has reported.

The CTU has been at the forefront of a recent mobilization of teachers across the country after the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) won union elections and launched a successful strike around social justice demands in 2012. In 2019, the teachers union is still fighting for the school Chicago students deserve as class size takes center stage along with a demand for more librarians, nurses, and student counselors as some schools must currently share these resources leaving important student services and access to school materials out of reach much of the time.

You can also read Labor Notes coverage of the strike here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Crimson: Harvard Grad Student Union sets strike authorization vote

Harvard University Graduate Students will be holding a strike authorization vote next week, expected to begin on October 15th, the Harvard Crimson reports. The vote will require 2/3rds of HGSU-UAW members to give leadership the power to call a strike if deemed necessary.

At issue for HGSU in the now year long negotiations are wages, harassment and discrimination protections, and health benefits.

It is worth noting that a work stoppage by HGSU is currently protected by the NLRB, but a current rule change being considered by the NLRB puts future actions of this sort in jeopardy.

Library Worklife: NLRB moves to strip grad students of union rights

Library Worklife reports that, towards the end of September, the National Labor Relations Board proposed a rule change that would upend the 2016 decision that gave graduate students at private univsersities the right to unionize.

The rule is currently open for public comment through November 22nd. Such a move would dramatically upend years of victories and organizing by graduate students across the United States, often in the face of constant turn over and open hostility from administrations.

The rule would not prohibit private colleges from willingly recognizing student unions and some states may take action to protect the student unions. Past opposition from private schools suggests that few would recognize the unions if such an action was on a voluntary bases (under current rules some schools have ignored unions and refused to meet for negotiations).

October Library Worklife is out

ALA-APA has published the October 2019 edition of Library Worklife.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

CBC, Gazette: Two Ontario unions avoid strike with last minute agreements

Ontario narrowly avoided seeing two education strikes kick off simultanously as the CBC reports a late night agreement between the government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) prevented a strike by 55,000 education workers and an agreement between Western University and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA-LA) announced an agreement that prevented librarians an archivists from walking out according to the Gazette, Western University's student paper.

Both contracts still need to be ratified by union members, but the agreements represent an ability to continue services to students at all levels uninterrupted. UWOFA-LA is not releasing details of the contract until its members have a chance to vote, but CUPE has stated that they won modest wage increases and a continuation of the current sick leave plan. The main victory CUPE claimed, however, was a commitment of an investment estimated to be worth $20million(Canadian) into the province's schools, stating that this was a victory for students and parents as much as anyone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

CBS: Chicago Public Schools staff deliver strike notice

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, which represents 7,500 staff employees of Chicago Public Schools, issued a strike notice Tuesday, CBS Chicago reports.

Members voted in July to authorize a strike by 97%, citing what they are calling poverty wages as a motivator for the walk out.

SEIU Local 73 could be on strike as early as October 17th, potentially joined by SEIU members of the city's Park District which voted by 94% to strike last week. Earlier this week the Chicago Teachers Union also voted to authorize a strike by 94% putting the CTU on pace to be on strike by the end of the month.

Mercury News: Santa Clara County workers strike wednesday

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521, which represents employees in libraries, parks, and law enforement as well as hospital custodial staff, social workers, mental health providers, and clerical workers in Santa Clara County, called for its first strike in four decades to begin Wednesday, the Mercury News reports.

Members of the 12,000 strong union voted last month to authorize a strike and SEIU 521 notified the county last Thursday that a strike could begin any day.

The unions contract ended in June, but a skyrocketing cost of living in the Bay Area combined with staffing shortages in mental health and key positions have been sticking issues in negotiations. Further, the union is alleging unfair labor practices after the county unilateraly changed the structure of the Department of Family and Children's Services without the unions approval. The restructuring was a response to staffing shortages at an intake center for children under temporary custody, a situation the union alleges has endangered both employees and children.