Archive for Higher Education

Statement by UUP President Fred Kowal on Harris v. Quinn ruling

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On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Harris v. Quinn, a long-awaited case that could have gutted unions by barring them from collecting agency fees from non-members.

The case was brought by a group of Illinois home-care workers who refused to pay their fair share of their union’s costs to represent them in collective bargaining agreements. The court ruled that the home-care workers should be considered as “partial public employees,” and not be forced to pay their fair share—known in New York as agency fee—even though they would still be represented by their union.

In essence, these home-care workers would be “free riders,” contrary to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1977 case Abood vs. Detroit Board of Education, which asserted labor’s constitutional right to collect dues and collectively bargain for public workers.

UUP’s ability to represent its 35,000 members isn’t impaired by the Harris ruling, which does not apply to “full-fledged” public employees such as SUNY academics and professionals, teachers, police officers and firemen who work in the public sector.

Strong anti-union forces bankrolled and supported the case. The National Right to Work Committee Legal Defense Fund represented the home-care workers. The Legal Defense Fund is linked with the billionaire Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Cato Institute, among other anti-union advocates.

Read entire article here.

Congratulations, class of 2014: You’re totally screwed

Salon

College costs more and more, even as it gets objectively worse. Only people worse off than indebted grads: adjuncts

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Welcome to the wide world, Class of 2014. You have by now noticed the tremendous consignment of debt that the authorities at your college have spent the last four years loading on your shoulders. It may interest you to know that the average student-loan borrower among you is now $33,000 in debt, the largest of any graduating class ever. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, carrying that kind of debt will have certain predictable effects. It will impede your ability to accumulate wealth, for example. You will also borrow more for other things than people without debt, and naturally you will find your debt level growing, not shrinking, as the years pass.

As you probably know, neither your parents nor your grandparents were required to take on this kind of burden in order to go to college. Neither are the people of your own generation in France and Germany and Argentina and Mexico.

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Rally Supporting Efforts to Unionize Adjuncts at Marist College

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Peter D.G. Brown (center with cap) at Marist College rally

 

New Paltz UUP Chapter President Peter D.G. Brown spoke at a rally April 9th in support of SEIU’s efforts to unionize adjuncts at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Marist is a private institution, dedicated to Catholic values, that costs $50,000 a year to attend. Its President, Dennis Murray, made over $2.6 million in 2011. Most of the courses are taught by adjuncts starting at $2,400 per course—less than one-thousandth of Murray’s salary. MORE