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.
A Message from the CUNY Faculty and Staff
This is a watershed moment for higher education. The “reform” agenda that brought relentless testing and widespread privatization to K-12 schools has surfaced in higher education. Forty years of public policy focused on access to college is being replaced by a single-minded demand for increased graduation rates—whatever the cost in academic quality.
The battle for educational quality is being fought hard by faculty and staff at The City University of New York (CUNY), long a focal point in struggles for educational justice.
CUNY’s educational mission is under attack. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and the CUNY Board of Trustees, led by Benno Schmidt, Jr., are trying to impose a diluted system of general education, “Pathways,” that seeks to save money at the expense of students’ learning. Facing intense faculty resistance, the CUNY administration has resorted to threats and intimidation. Under the pretext of easing student transfer and increasing graduation rates, Pathways will deliver a minimal curriculum for CUNY’s working-class students: it removes science lab requirements, limits foreign language requirements, and cuts back on faculty time with students in English classes. Pathways is an attempt to move students through the system more quickly even as budgets are cut—by reducing academic requirements. Pathways is austerity education for an austerity economy.
With your help, we can defeat Pathways and achieve a victory for educational quality that could have national implications. Please add your voice to ours and take a stand for the integrity of higher education.
President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
Chair, University Faculty Senate
For more information and to sign the petition, click here!
Resolution Opposing the NYSUT Endorsement of Congressman Chris Gibson
Whereas, The board of directors of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) voted in June 2012 to endorse Republican Chris Gibson over Democrat Julian Schreibman in the newly-created 19th Congressional District race;
Whereas, NYSUT is an affiliate of the United University Professions (UUP), and the UUP statewide organization has membership on the NYSUT executive board, and the UUP is bound by NYSUT endorsements;
Whereas, The NYSUT local presidents voted to take a position of neutrality on the race between Chris Gibson and Julian Schreibman;
Whereas, The NYSUT board of directors initially adopted a stance of neutrality on the race between Chris Gibson and Julian Schreibman, and then later changed their position to endorse Chris Gibson without consulting the NYSUT local presidents;
Whereas, Chris Gibson supported Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget plan which would – among other things – devastate education funding;
Whereas, Chris Gibson voted to extend Bush-era tax cuts through 2013;
Whereas, Chris Gibson has voted to support voucher programs for education, depriving public schools of important funding;
Whereas, Chris Gibson voted in support of school vouchers in Washington, D.C., schools;
Whereas, Chris Gibson voted in support of increasing the interest rates on student loans;
Whereas, AFT and NYSUT’s own ranking of Chris Gibson on Education issues before Congress is a mere 38%;
Whereas, Chris Gibson has called for the scaling back or closing down of the Department of Education;
Whereas, Chris Gibson has voted to prevent the E.P.A. from spending money to enforce its standards regarding the reduction of mercury emissions from cement plants across the U.S.;
Whereas, Chris Gibson has supported building additional nuclear power plants along the Hudson River;
Whereas, Chris Gibson voted in support of the Defense of Marriage Act and this year voted twice against efforts to repeal it, and opposes same-sex marriage;
Whereas, Chris Gibson voted to restrict the ability of unions to organize and effectively enforce safe labor standards;
Whereas, Chris Gibson was rated at a shockingly low 14% by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (a grade of “F” on worker’s issues);
Whereas, Chris Gibson voted to ban federal health coverage that includes abortion; and
Whereas, A vote for Chris Gibson is also a vote for the anti-labor, anti-education leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives;
Resolved, That the UUP New Paltz Chapter Executive Committee opposes the NYSUT endorsement of Representative Chris Gibson for the 19th Congressional District.
—UUP New Paltz Chapter Executive Committee, September 21, 2012
Stephen Street of Buffalo State passes away at the age of 56
Stephen M. Street, 1955-2012
Mr. Street had taught writing and literature off the tenure track since 1980, and had been active in the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, the New Faculty Majority, and the United University Professions, a union that represents academic employees at the State University of New York. His essays for The Chronicle often expressed the frustrations he and other adjunct faculty members felt in seeking decent pay and benefits and equitable treatment from their employers.
Reprinted with permission of UUP. Full story available at: