Archive: April, 2010

NYU grad assistants: We’re baaaaaack!

(from a press release issued  Tuesday, April 27, 2010) 

Teaching and research assistants give New York University an ultimatum:

Voluntarily recognize our union or face a new federal election

Workers confident National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will reverse controversial   anti-union decision

NEW YORK – Encouraged by a new progressive majority on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), teaching assistants, research assistants and graduate assistants at New York University (NYU) are demanding that NYU President John Sexton voluntarily recognize their union for purposes of collective bargaining or face another contentious round in a labor relations battle that has gone on for nearly a decade. (More)

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I’m in love with Mika Brzezinski: 4/25

Dear Mika: I had so little time this past week that I was only able to catch parts of the shows.  But I was able to watch all of the interview with Tim Geithner, and I was happy to see he’s gotten a haircut.  When he has all those curls bunched up on top of his head, he looks like one of those marathon dancers back in the 1930s, which of course he isn’t (but maybe again he is).  At any rate, I couldn’t have had more than half a “Cup of Joe” with you and the guys because I was deluged with comments about my first letter to you.  It’s what one gets, I suppose, from being totally transparent. (More)

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Say hello to Mary Kay Henry

When Politico’s Ben Smith announced over the weekend that Mary Kay Henry will become the new president of the Service Employees International Union, he got the political scorecard right, but her bona fides all wrong.  Henry isn’t a “California nurses leader,” and she’s not an “unknown quantity” on the national scene.  A visit to the SEIU’s website would have let him in on the secret that she’s one of six SEIU national executive vice presidents and the leader of 1.1 million health care workers, some of them nurses (some of them doctors), but most of them hospital and nursing home service workers. And she’s certainly well known in the health care industry and to national policy-makers — in 2009, Modern Health Care named her one of the nation’s “Top 25 Women in Health Care.”  Who is MKay Henry?  One of the most successful big-time union organizers in our country, a woman so slick she can pick your pocket with one hand while convincing you with the other that you stupidly lost your wallet (yes, she talks with her hands). (More)

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April 21, 2010

I’m in love with Mika Brzezinski: 4/21

Dear Mika: Yes it’s me, and I’m in love again.  Only this time, I’m in love with you, no, not in any sort of inwardly, downward, forever sort of thing, but in the same way I’ve fallen over the years for whomever rises to be the liberal female icon of the moment — you know, like in Joan Baez, Mary Travers (God rest her big old soul), Gloria Steinam, Jane Fonda (and didn’t she look great this past Sunday in the Times Magazine at what, 72?). (More)

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April 20, 2010

Good books by Steve Early, Wade Rathke, Amy Dean and Bill Fletcher

I’m chary about reviewing the work of other writers: I never read a book I didn’t like, and I never met a author I didn’t admire (or at least envy). And when ARK MAGAZINE (official publication of the National Organizing Alliance) asked me to review books by four friends , I knew I was about to get neck deep in a small muddy if I dug in with my usual critical shovel.  Alas, I came up dirtless — these are all must-reads, not only because of superb content and good writing, but because they are written by people who were all organizers at some point in their lives.  I urge you to buy them, lest the authors be forced to give up their inside-jobs- with-no-heavy-lifting and return to their halcyon days of cheap motels and Don Martel wine. (More)

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April 14, 2010

Andy Stern’s Big Decision

The news this week that Andy Stern is resigning  as president of the Service Employees International Union came as a shock to some, but not to those who’ve known him for any amount of time.  For me, his departure at the youngish age (at least for a labor leader) of 59 is far from surprising: a man who’d been unable to measure up to many of the high standards he’d set for himself was living up to at least one of them, namely that union leaders shouldn’t hang onto their positions of power and influence until they are so old their “vision” can’t tell the difference between a picket line and a pimped-out contract. (More)

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