Janus v. Democracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/06/2018 - 6:56am in

The Janus decision is a significant setback for democracy. What should public-sector workers do now?

Belabored Podcast #150: Lessons Learned on the Picket Line

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 1:44am in

As education strikes continue to rock the country, we talk with two striking workers—Ian Bradley Perrin, a graduate employee at Columbia University, and Arizona teacher Noah Karvelis.

Loyola’s Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Strike

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/04/2018 - 2:21am in



Non-tenure-track faculty at Loyola University Chicago went on strike this morning, after two years of negotiations between between their union (Service Employees International Union Local 73 Branch, which they joined in 2016) and the university’s administration.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

The two sides last met for negotiations in a marathon session Monday. Representatives for the union and the university said there has been significant progress in recent weeks but ultimately an agreement could not be brokered before the deadline.

Rebecca Scott, an instructor at Loyola who earned her PhD there, is one of several philosophers who have been involved in the negotiations. She writes:

We came very close to reaching a deal, having come to an agreement on compensation and a number of other issues. But at the last minute the administration inserted a management rights clause that we felt undermined the contract as a whole. Other sticking points include the lack of a path to permanent employment for adjuncts and NTTs with one year contracts, and an attempt by the administration to weaken the union by not allowing dues to be deducted directly from unionized faculty pay checks.

Picketing began this morning and there is a campus rally planned for noon, according to the Tribune, which spoke with some of the faculty:

Alyson Paige Warren, an adjunct instructor in the English department, said Loyola’s bargaining team showed little urgency to work out a contract agreement until the union announced a potential strike date in February. Since then the two sides have met four times. “We would have loved to have gotten this done quietly and we would have loved if we could have gotten this done in under two years,” Warren said. “But we can no longer afford to wait, we can no longer afford to be patient.”…

Warren said adjuncts at Loyola are paid between $4,000 and $4,500 per course and it is common for such instructors to have appointments at other universities or other jobs to make ends meet. Adjunct instructors are employed by contract on a semester-to-semester basis, making it impossible to plan for long-term work and income.

“Last year we didn’t find out until May whether our appointments would be renewed,” said Sarita Heer, who teaches art history. “By May, jobs are already gone.”

More here and here.

The post Loyola’s Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Strike appeared first on Daily Nous.

Britain: Universities on Strike

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/03/2018 - 7:34am in

British university lecturers are in their fourth week of a militant, historic strike—taking a stand not just against austerity, but for a more humane, democratic higher education system.

Belabored Podcast #146: West Virginia Teachers Win

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/03/2018 - 1:12am in

We talk to three West Virginia teachers about why they went on strike, how they won, and how the labor movement can carry their momentum forward.

Leeds Declares Punitive Pay Measures Against Faculty; Philosophers Respond By Resigning As External Examiners

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/03/2018 - 1:43am in


strike, UK

The University of Leeds has told its faculty and staff that they will not be paid while on strike, and will be docked 25% for each day, after they’ve returned to work, that they fail to reschedule class time missed during the strike, according to Leeds Live.

In response, a pair of philosophers, Mary Leng of the University of York and Robert Stern of the University of Sheffield, have written to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds, Alan Langlands, resigning from serving as external examiners for programs in Leeds’ School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science. (The three schools comprise the White Rose University Consortium). Here is their letter:

If you know of other philosophers joining with Professors Leng and Stern, or of other actions being taken by philosophers in regards to this announcement at Leeds or other aspects of the strike, please share that information in the comments.

(via Martin O’Neill)

The post Leeds Declares Punitive Pay Measures Against Faculty; Philosophers Respond By Resigning As External Examiners appeared first on Daily Nous.

Why Are UK Academics Striking?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 06/03/2018 - 12:14am in


retirement, strike, UK

Since late February, professors and staff at UK universities have been striking over changes to their retirement plans. 

Miriam Ronzoni (Manchester) has published a helpful explanation of the issues behind “the most massive industrial action ever undertaken” in higher education in the UK at Crooked Timber. Here’s an excerpt:

The reason behind the strike is a major reform of academic pensions, which Universities UK (UUK)—the organization of academic employers—put on the table last year. The plan is to move from the current defined benefit scheme to a defined contribution scheme, whereby future pensions would entirely depend on how the invested contributions do on the stock market. It is clear that this change is fairly radical and would make UK universities a much less attractive and competitive place to work.

If this weren’t enough, however, four things make UK-based academics particularly angry. First, the current scheme is already a significantly downgraded version of the pension that was promised to all academics who started working in UK universities prior to 2010. Between 2010 and 2016, the old “final salary” scheme (whereby pensioners would get half of their final salary upon retirement) was replaced with a, broadly speaking, “average salary” scheme (whereby pensioners would get half of their average salary upon retirement). In 2010, UUK stopped offering the old scheme to new employers; in 2016, the old scheme was closed altogether. This change was hard enough to swallow, but academics were promised that it would make their pensions “bullet proof” sustainable.

Now UUK claims that the scheme is not sustainable after all, which leads to the second reason for being angry. Over and above the question of “who is to blame” and should carry the burden if the scheme is not sustainable in spite of predictions, many experts question the valuations and analyses offered by UUK, arguing that “there is no deficit”, no problem of sustainability, and the proposed reform is instead driven by an agenda of “aggressive de-risking” aimed at shifting all risk-carrying to employees.

Third, UUK have refused to enter any meaningful negotiations with the Union of academics, UCU, up until now.

Finally, many argue that the very way in which this decision was taken was dodgy and intransparent. Not only did only a minority (42%) of employers vote for the proposed change; on top of that, several individual colleges at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were given an individual vote, thus allowing single colleges to count as much as some of the largest universities in the country.

The whole post is here.

The post Why Are UK Academics Striking? appeared first on Daily Nous.

University of Illinois Grad Students Strike Today

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/02/2018 - 12:37am in


Labor, strike

Graduate Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are set to go on strike, starting this morning.

A graduate student in the department of philosophy there wrote in to explain why:

The main issue is that the University administration intends to remove a provision in our contract that guarantees that all graduate employees who meet the typical standards (teaching or graduate assistant with 25-67% appointment, in good standing, etc.) will receive tuition waivers. They want to replace this with an “eligibility” that would allow management to reserve “the right to determine and modify the graduate program tuition waiver designations.”

See news accounts of the planned strike at The Chicago Tribune and the Champaign Urbana News-Gazette.

My graduate student correspondent adds:

Undergraduate advisers who are recommending programs to their students may be interested to know that the administration here intends to modify the tuition waivers guarantee. They will be able to do so if we lose this fight. Your readers can help by reaching out to the Provost at and telling him how badly this will effect graduate education (and undergraduate education, for that matter!) at the University of Illinois. Our department is very supportive (see this letter of support for example) but the administration is threatening to undermine the possibility of graduate education here anyway.

The post University of Illinois Grad Students Strike Today appeared first on Daily Nous.

Belabored Podcast #144: Thinking Outside the Box

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/02/2018 - 9:15am in

Two labor groups are waging creative challenges against corporate America—and for the rights of immigrant workers.

Train Strike Changes Name To Strikey McStrikeface

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 31/01/2018 - 8:18am in


News, strike, Stupid

The strike by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union is back on after union officials agreed to change the name of the strike to Strikey McStrikeface, meeting the approval of the NSW Transport Minister.

“I’m a big fan of industrial action just so long as they give it a cute name that the kiddies love,” said besieged minister Andrew Constance. “I’m thinking of changing my own name to Reddy McRedface after the bastard of a week I’ve been having.”

“Some kids have grown up not knowing what a strike is so Strikey McStrikeface is an excellent way of introducing them to the concept,” said ACTU Secretary Sally McManus. “Hopefully we’ll soon be rolling out Wagey McWagerise, because that’s another concept that kiddies have grown up knowing nothing about.”

In other transport news the NSW government has announced a $1 levy on petrol sales to compensate hansom cab operators for the introduction of the horseless carriage.

“This is only fair to the hansom cab operators who’ve invested thousands of guineas in bags of oats and blacksmithing anvils only to have a disruptive new technology enter their industry,” said Constance. “The cost of a stirrup manufacturing licence has plummeted in the past few years and sales of top hats have dwindled down to nothing.”

Peter Green

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