NLRB Rules Against Harvard in Graduate Student Unionization Appeal

By PHELAN YU, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

Harvard may have to hold a new election to determine whether eligible students can form a union after the National Labor Relations Board ruled against the University’s appeal Tuesday.

Harvard had appealed a previous NLRB decision requiring the University to hold a new election, arguing that the results of the Nov. 2016 election—the initial results of which showed more students voting against unionization than in support of it—should stand. Since August, the federal NLRB—a panel of presidential appointees—had weighed the University’s appeal, and on Tuesday decided to uphold the previous NLRB ruling that the election results were invalid.

Months of controversy and legal challenges roiled last year’s student unionization election as union advocates charged that Harvard had not provided the proper voter lists before the election. At stake is whether or not eligible graduate student researchers and teaching assistants and undergraduate teaching assistants at Harvard can collectively bargain with the University.

Representatives from the Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Automobile Workers were quick to celebrate the decision. Some union advocates had worried that the NLRB’s majority Republican membership would sink their chances after more than a year of legal challenges.

“We’re excited to have a new election,” said Andrew Donnelly, a graduate student and union organizer.

In an emailed statement, University spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven did not comment on whether Harvard will hold a new unionization election.

“The University continues to believe the November 2016 student unionization election was fair and that well-informed students turned out in high numbers to vote. It is disappointing that the NLRB has not upheld our students’ decision to vote against unionization in that election,” she wrote.

In a press release, Julie Kushner, Region 9A Director of the United Automobile Workers, wrote that the NLRB’s ruling was an encouraging development.

“This is another great victory for graduate workers in the UAW and a shot in the arm to this growing movement,” Kushner wrote.

Reposted from The Harvard Crimson

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Replace NAFTA- Call In Day

Replace NAFTA Call-in Day

Tomorrow, Weds. December 13th!

Brothers & Sisters,

NAFTA helped corporations outsource one million middle-class American jobs, with more and more jobs lost every week..

The terms of this massive corporate power grab are now being renegotiated, with talks happening right now in Washington, D.C.

This could finally be our chance to replace NAFTA and end its damage — but the negotiations are happening behind closed doors with hundreds of corporate advisors granted special access and the public locked out.

Call your member of Congress now to demand a NAFTA replacement that puts people and the planet before corporations. (Toll-free numbers and sample script below, or click to call here.)

The corporations are fighting to preserve the special powers in NAFTA that make it easier for CEOs and companies to outsource jobs to Mexico and to attack our laws before panels of corporate lawyers who can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations.

NAFTA also lacks enforceable labor and environmental standards so companies can move U.S. jobs to Mexico to pay workers poverty wages, dump toxins and then import those products back to the U.S. for sale. Workers in Mexico and the U.S. lose while corporate profits soar.

Since NAFTA, Mexico’s already low wages are down 9 percent and U.S. wages are flat, while the price of everything has risen. Unless we rewrite NAFTA, NAFTA will keep giving the green light to corporations to outsource American jobs, pushing down wages.

That’s why TODAY, a nationwide coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, faith and farm groups are holding a #ReplaceNAFTA Call-in Day urging Congress to demand that NAFTA renegotiations put people ahead of corporations.

Continue reading

Involuntary Servitude in Chicken Processing Plants

Here is an important notice that appeared in Prison Legal News, a publication of the Human Rights Defense Center.
If you or someone you know has been forced to work in a chicken processing plant in Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia or Arkansas as part of a work release, diversion or jail work program under threat of being sent to prison and were paid little or nothing we would like to talk to you for a story we are investigating.
Please contact Alex Friedmann at: afriedmann@prisonlegalnews.org
Ed. note:  The sprawling prison-industrial complex facilitates the continuation of slavery conditions in the guise of rehabilitation.  Prisoners work for little or no pay in unpleasant jobs to further private profits. – PG

Call For AFL-CIO to Open AIFLD Files

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

For those people, in particular trade union activists who are following developments in our movement, you should be aware of the resolution passed recently by the Duluth (Minn) Labor Body AFL-CIO. The resolution calls on the AFL-CIO leadership and President Richard Trumka to allow the University of Maryland to open the AFL-CIO’s AIFLD archives.  AIFLD was an AFL-CIO department that was set up in the 1960’s in order to combat and suppress any labor organizations throughout the third world that rejected the pro-business US model. It is well documented that AIFLD, funded heavily by the US government, was infiltrated by the CIA and supported the pro-capitalist US foreign policy.

The UAW’s Victor Reuther was an outspoken critic of this referring to the AFL’s “cloak and dagger” operations and the “indiscriminate whitewashing of the obvious shortcomings in US foreign policy.”*  The CIA through AIFLD and backed by the extreme anti-communism of the cold war and AFL-CIO leadership under George Meany and then Lane Kirkland, resorted to all sorts of coercion and violence to undermine radical and democratic unionism.

Rob McKenzie, a former UAW local president and Ford worker wrote the resolution which reads as follows:

Whereas, workers in Ford Motor’s Mexico City Assembly Plant were involved in a series of labor disputes in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s resisting efforts to bring their wages and benefits down to the level of the new plants on the U.S. border and demanding democratic elections in their union.  Many were kidnapped, beaten, shot and fired.  One died from wounds received in the plant.

Whereas, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), a now defunct arm of the AFL-CIO was reputedly involved in these events and the AFL-CIO has sent the old records from this group to the University of Maryland, the official repository for AFL-CIO records.

Whereas, the University of Maryland has requested permission for a year to open new AIFLD records and archive them for researchers and has not received approval from the National AFL-CIO to do so.

Therefore, be it resolved, That the National AFL-CIO take the action necessary to allow archivists at the University of Maryland to open new American Institute for Free Labor Development records. Continue reading

End of the Legal Line for Gerawan Farms – Capital & Main

Source: End of the Legal Line for Gerawan Farms – Capital & Main  

by David Bacon

See Labor Lessons from Scandinavia

http://www.dsausa.org/labor_lessons_from_scandinavialaborers with rose banner

For Thanksgiving- Thank a Farm Worker

This Thanksgiving thank a farm worker

Happy Thanksgiving. We want to extend our warm thanks to you for being our loyal supporter and helping farm workers. As our families prepare to gather around the Thanksgiving table, we want to ask everyone to take a second to thank the men and women who labor to put the food on our Thanksgiving tables, and whose labor feeds us all year long. These hard working people labor day after day behind the scenes in heat, cold and rain to harvest the food that ends up in supermarkets and eventually on your table.

Join us in recognizing them and letting them know we appreciate everything they do, by signing the online Thanksgiving card our organizers will share with our members at their various farms and dairies. Please take an extra 30 seconds and add your own personal message.

UFW members are marking this Thanksgiving holiday season with a campaign they launched at their latest gathering of worker leadership. Members from Coachella, Ventura County, San Joaquin Valley, Monterey County, Sonoma County, and Oregon and Washington states have taken their message about the benefits of having a union contract out to their communities and social media. “From Our Hands to Your Tables” highlights their stories and the work they do every day.

To follow this campaign go to: https://www.facebook.com/unitedfarmworkers/ and https://twitter.com/UFWupdates or look for our #ThankAFarmWorker and #WeFeedYou hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.