The 17th Annual Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions begins today, and features appearances by major union figures, including my friend Barbara Bowen, who came to power in the CUNY union as part of an innovative coalition of tenure-stream faculty, graduate employees and faculty serving contingently, with a small role played by yours truly in the CUNY Adjunct Project.

Eight years later, she’s facing some of the same demands and complaints from faculty serving contingently that she made in connection with the previous union leadership. (My own view is that this militance from the faculty serving contingently is a great thing. I’d very much welcome them mobilizing to reject this contract–ultimately it places the union leadership in a far stronger position to negotiate, having demonstrated militance.)

Next week, to mark the opening of COCAL VIII, I’ll begin releasing some great video featuring some smoking mad contingent faculty: Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship and a book contract who has served as full-time contingent faculty for ten years; Elizabeth Hoffman, an activist with the California Faculty Association; and “Anonymous,” a long-term part-time lecturer.

Click the flash player above to screen part 3 of 4 in my extended interview with activists from Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago, a portrait of an emerging union drive at a private institution.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll feature another grad-employee four-parter with a group of activists from GSOC-UAW at NYU, another private institution, but at entirely a different point in their experience. The NYU folks reflect on a successful organizing drive and first contract, setbacks with the NLRB, a failed strike, the strategy of continuous organizing, the arrogant law-breaking of the administration, and other topics. You can also just get their book from Temple University Press, a superb case study.

Graduate employee unionization in the U.S. is more advanced at public institutions, and organizing at private schools stalled for a while in the aftermath of the Bush mob’s hijack of the NLRB, but there is a resurgence of militancy among grad employees at private institutions.

Part 1: Why Grad Employees Unionize
Part 2: Ballad of the Dissertators
Part 3: Pushback
Part 4: Unions and Academic Democracy

17th Annual Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions Conference
Hosted by GESO in New Haven, CT. July 31-August 3 2008

4th Annual Canadian Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions Conference
Hosted by GTA-Union at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. August 7-9, 2008.

8th International Conference of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor
Hosted by COCAL-California, San Diego State University. August 8-10, 2008

Thursday July 31 – Sunday August 3 2008, New Haven, CT

For more information on registration, go to www.geso.org or email Mary
Reynolds at mary@yaleunions.org. If you will need a homestay, please
contact Mary Reynolds asap.

Thursday, July 31
5pm-8pm, Registration, GESO office, 425 College Street, 3rd floor

Friday, August 1
9am-10:30am, Breakfast and Registration, 81 Wall Street, Room 101

10:30am-12:30pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 301
The Global University and Organizing Global Scholars
  Rana Jaleel, GSOC/UAW, NYU
  Jeffrey Boyd and Lucas Klein, GESO/UNITE HERE, Yale

10:30am-12:30pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 401
University Growth, Faculty Shrinkage: Endowments, Development and
  Maris Zivarts, UNITE HERE, Yale
  Amber Cooper, GEO/AFT, UIC
  TBA, GEO/AFT, U of Michigan

12:30pm-1:15pm, 34 Hillhouse Ave, LUCE Hall Common Room
Boxed Lunch

1:30pm-3:30pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 301
Winning Our Issues: Using Research at and away from the Bargaining Table
  Scott Bruton, AAUP/AFT, Rutgers
  Bernie Zirnheld and Paul Shin, GESO/UNITE HERE, Yale

1:30pm-3:30pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 101
Organizing Legislative Campaigns
  Patrick Gallagher and Joanna Holzman, GSOC/UAW, NYU
  TBA, TAA/AFT, U of Wisconsin

4:30pm-6pm, 425 College Street, Trinity Hall
KEYNOTE: Labor and the Presidential Campaign
  Tom Snyder, National Political Director, UNITE HERE

6pm, 425 College Street, Trinity Hall

Saturday, August 2
9am-10am, Registration, 81 Wall Street, Room 101

10am-11pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 301
Discussion: Redefining Community: Race, Gender, Class and Challenging
Institutional Power
  Sarah Haley, Alejandro Delgado, and Serena Sprungl, GESO/UNITE HERE, Yale

10am-12pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 401
Who?s Doing the Teaching?: Restructuring Academic Work
  David Assouline, GESO/UNITE HERE, Yale
  Mikael Swayze, CUPE, U of Toronto
  Barbara Bowen, PSC/CUNY, AFT

12pm-1pm, 34 Hillhouse Ave, LUCE Common Room
Boxed lunch

1pm-3pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 301
Coalition Building: How to Build Alliances with other Workers on Campus
  Anita Seth, GESO/UNITE HERE, Yale
  Lisha Story, GEO/UAW, UMass-Amherst
  TBA, GEO/AFT, U of Michigan

1pm-3pm, 81 Wall Street, Room 401
Building Organizing Committees: High Turnover, the Memory Problem, and
the Union Difference
  Susan Valentine, GSOC/UAW, NYU
  Carlos Aramayo, GESO/UNITE HERE, Yale
  Amber Cooper, GEO/AFT, UIC
  Jim McAsey, GSEU/CWA, SUNY

3:30pm-5:30pm, WLH 117
Plenary: Legislative Strategies
  Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY and Vice
President, AFT
  Christian Sweeney, Technical, Office, and Professional Department, UAW

Sunday, August 3
9am-11am, Breakfast and Closing Session






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