Monday, April 17, 2006

Grad assistants to vote on unionization

WMU's graduate assistants, who teach many of the lower level classes at Western, particularly in the Math and English departments, will vote on whether to unionize. This follows a successful effort to obtain signatures from a majority of grad assistants authorizing a vote.

According to an email from WMU Provost Linda DeLene, the election will take place April 19-20, 12-3 and 4-6PM in room 201 of the Bernhard Center. Grad assistants will cast a secret ballot and will have a choice between "Teaching Assistants Union/AFT" and No Union.

If a majority votes for the union, it will control the negotiation of salary and benefits for WMU grad assistants. If a majority of grad assistants vote to unionize, the rest will be forced to abide by its decisions regarding negotiations whether they want to or not.

Several complaints have led to this vote. One is that grad assistants at Western are paid less than at some other government universities. Another is that health care costs are rising. Another is that a recent change in the way assistantships are calculated will lead to higher tax bills for grad assistants. Finally, some students were upset by an aborted attempt by the university to increase the number of credit hours that grad students had to take per semester.

Union dues have not been determined at this time, but would likely be between 1 and 2 percent of grad assistant salaries. This translates to $100 to $300. Grad assistants would not necessarily be required to join the union, but they would be forced to pay a "service fee" which would be almost as much as union dues.

The prospective union would be called the Teaching Assistants Union (TAU). It would be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The AFT, in turn, is affiliated with the massive labor conglomeration the AFL/CIO.

The AFT and AFL/CIO are well-known as far left organizations. The AFL/CIO contributes many millions of its members dollars to political campaigns. (Its members probably think that the money is used for collective bargaining.) Almost all of this money goes to Democrats. In addition, it supports particular candidates in primary elections. For example, unions supported David Bonior over Jennifer Granholm in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Its members' money is used whether or not they support or oppose the candidates in question.

The AFL/CIO is controlled by far left-wing activists. It has taken positions on many issues that have nothing to do with collective bargaining. This is also true of the National Education Association (NEA), a distinct but similar teachers union.

Based on my impressions of the opinions of graduate assistants, the unionization vote is likely to be successful.

You can view the manifesto of the Teaching Assistants Union here.

For more information on unionism see the websites of National Right to Work Foundation, National Right to Work Committee, Stop Union Political Abuse and Eagle Forum.


Anonymous said...

It´s funny that still exists people like you, I truly respect what you believe and undertand that you want to keep your country as the world leader even when your own goverment promotes an auto attack and kill 3000 of their own citizens (the most of them inmigrants).
Anyway your grandfathers were inmigrants and your country is made out of the biggest mixture of cultures and race. That is one of thounsands of reasons you should respect inmigrants, is just people trying to make a better living just as your grandfathers did in the past.

Here is something for you, and remember open your mind and please take a look on what other countries think about you.

Best regards amigos

Anonymous said...

A very on-topic and unbiased comment, "amigo."

Dan Roth said...

You say "your country" which leaves me to believe you're not even American. So I doubt you have America's best interests in mind. Your comment doesn't seem to have any relevence to the post. On top of that, your post is full of spelling and grammatical errors. Do you really expect anyone to take you seriously?

Anonymous said...

Of course I expect to be taken seriously, gramatical errors are nothing compared with a country and a goverment that kills it´s own people in order to keep economy flowing.
I don´t expect you to change your mind and/or support what I believe but I do expect you to open your mind and accept that the most of the acts are driven just by money, that the only way your goverment "fix" problems in the world is by killing people and invading countries, but the funniest thing is that the most of the times you invade countries where you have economical interets.
There are dictators all over the world, dictators that kill millions of people in africa and asia every year and what is the reason you dont go and take those goverments down? Because you don´t have any interest there.
Iraq = Oil and the fact they were almost ready to change oil currency from dollars to Euros.
Afganistan = The biggest oil pipe in the world, guess who is building it, yes Halliburton!!!
Somalia = That was not USA but ONU.
Iran = Please don´t go there or World War III will start.

You think US is world police but no one asked you to be, that is something that you believe.
Just open your mind to new information, do it seriously and then decide, I´m not a US citizen and I don´t live there but visit your contry 3 or 4 times a year and I do have very good friends there, some conservatives some other not, all of them are very nice people, but the only people that can change what US goverment is doing to the world is you, the US citizens.

Eric Statler said...

Conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories. I would suggest that you "open your mind" and realize that conspiracy theories tend to be completely untrue. Also, first you suggest that we do not go after dictators that perhaps we should ("what is the reason you dont go and take those goverments down?"), but then you go on to say that we shouldn't police the world at all ("no one asked you to be"). I am left with no real idea of what you believe the role of the United States should be in the world. It is clear that you do not believe that it was in the national security interest of teh United States to go to war with Iraq or Afghanistan. Therefore, either you believe that we should go to war with countries like Iraq and Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons (these countries are far better off now from a human right standpoint, by the way...), or we should find some other reason to go to war - resources. Your points are quite unclear. What are they?