Cherríe Moraga: Lorwin Lecture on Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

Our friends at the Center for Women in Society are sponsoring a visit from Cherríe Morgana. From their Facebook page:

CSWS is honored and thrilled to announce that esteemed and iconic Chicana writer, feminist activist, poet, essayist, and playwright Cherríe Moraga will deliver our keynote Lorwin Lecture on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties!

Join us at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 13 at the Erb Memorial Union on the UO campus for her keynote address. (She will also lead an activist methods workshop for faculty and graduate students from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, October 14 at the Many Nations Longhouse; an RSVP is required for that event)

Maestra Moraga has been an artist-in-residence at the Stanford University Department of Theater and Performance Studies and in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity for nearly twenty years. A poet, playwright-director, writer-essayist, educator, and cultural activist, she is also the co-editor of the seminal anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, which won the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1986. She is the recipient of the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature, the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lambda Foundation’s “Pioneer” award, among many other honors.

We Must Do Better: Latino Workers Face Greater Risk on the Job

From our friends at the Oregon AFL-CIO

We Must Do Better:
Latino Workers Face Greater Risk on the Job

Too many Latino workers face disease, major injury and death while laboring in dangerous jobs with inadequate safeguards. In 2014, 804 Latino workers died on the job, with 64% of these fatalities being Latino workers born outside of the United States. Latino worker deaths recently have decreased even though more Latinos are working in the construction industry than ever before: Nearly 70% of new construction jobs between 2012 and 2015 were filled by Latino workers. The job fatality rate among Latino workers has declined by 38% since 2001, when the rate of Latino worker fatalities reached its highest (6.0 per 100,000 workers). But Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of death on the job, with a fatality rate that is 9% higher than for workers overall.

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The construction industry is the most deadly industry for Latino and immigrant workers, with 29% of all Latino fatalities and 26% of all immigrant fatalities occurring in this sector. Transportation accounts for 9% of Latino job-related deaths, agriculture for 8% and landscaping services for 8%. The number of Latino worker deaths in oil and gas extraction has increased more than 180% in the past five years.

Of all serious injury and illness cases that are reported, 14% are from Latino workers. Latino and immigrant workers often work in occupations with high rates of injury and in work environments where injuries are severely under-reported. For example, in 2015, an estimated 34% of meat and poultry workers were Latino, and the industry has extremely high rates of repetitive strain injuries, cuts and lacerations, falls due to wet working conditions and chemical exposures. Vulnerable workers, like Latino and immigrant workers, fear raising concerns on the job because of fear of retaliation by employers, like being assigned more dangerous work, getting fired or deported. Vulnerable workers often do not speak English, nor are they informed about their rights on the job.

This decline in Latino worker fatalities over the years did not happen by chance. Latino worker and advocacy communities demanded action from policymakers. Targeted programs informed Latino and immigrant workers that they have safety and health rights in the workplace, such as the right to demand protective controls on the job, to report unsafe working conditions and to refuse unsafe work. This increased attention also led to protective regulations and increased accessibility to training and materials in Spanish. But much more work remains to be done.

What can be done to protect Latino and immigrant working people on the job? We can:

Focus on high hazard industries with high Latino and immigrant worker populations;
Improve rights for all working people and strengthen collective bargaining laws;
Advance immigrant rights so all working people have full workplace protection; and
Strengthen whistle blower and anti-retaliation protections for reporting job injuries and hazards.

Read more about Latino and immigrant worker safety and health issues in the 2016 AFL-CIO’s Death on the Job report.

SOU Faculty and Administration Contract Negotiations Stalled

After negotiating a new contract since early June, the SOU administration broke off negotiations with the faculty today and called for the State of Oregon to provide mediation. Kemble Yates, chief negotiator for the SOU faculty union APSOU (Association of Professors, Southern Oregon University) expressed his disappointment.
“We have been bargaining in good faith and I really thought we had most of the sticky issues resolved with the administration. But apparently a salary difference of 1% total over three years – we’re asking for a total of 8.25% while they are digging in on 7.25% – is a gulf they cannot cross. The difference in these salary dollars amount to a total of less than $100,000 per year for an annual budget of over $50 million dollars.” The administration recently gave itself a 3% raise, and the classified staff union recently settled for raises comparable to what APSOU is asking for.

Yates, a Mathematics professor at SOU for 29 years, explained that faculty are still smarting from events of the last two years – a retrenchment that cost at least a dozen faculty their jobs, sharp budget and program cuts, faculty salary freezes and furloughs, and a no confidence of vote of the top administrators. He had hoped that in light of the continued strides SOU has made of late including record student enrollments and student retention, a much more favorable legislative appropriation, and the improved direction set by President Saigo and the new SOU Board of Trustees would signal a better time.

A mediation session will be scheduled for later in December or in January and will be facilitated by the state’s Employment Relations Board, which is charged with aiding in the resolution of labor disputes. If mediation cannot bring the parties to a settlement, either side could declare impasse, resulting in each side presenting a final offer. After a 30 day cooling off period, the administration could unilaterally implement its final offer and the faculty could vote to strike.

“I’m quite sure most faculty would prefer not to strike. But our members are telling us that we need a much better contract after what we’ve endured the last two years.” In addition to salary, faculty are very concerned about significant workload issues and the trend of SOU administration replacing regular faculty with temporary – and very exploited – faculty. “We’ve lost 20% of the continuing faculty over the last five years, but the number of students has increased in that time. Nearly 50% of our courses are now taught by temporary faculty. And the number of administrators has increased as well, including 46 administrative hires since January of 2014.”

2015 AAUP-Oregon Annual Conference — April 25

Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 9am-3:30pm in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

A new Oregon state chapter (“State Conference”) of the American Association of University Professors was started in 2013, largely the initiative of the AAUP collective bargaining chapters at Portland State University (PSU-­‐AAUP) and the University of Oregon (United Academics), and the AAUP chapter at Oregon State University. AAUP-­‐Oregon is a member-­‐driven initiative—by faculty and academic professionals, for students, faculty, and academic professionals—to give us voice in the direction of higher education in our state. The Annual Conference is a gathering with our members, and our allies, from across the state, to develop a common vision, strategy, skills, connections, and goals for the year ahead.

Registration information and agenda: AAUP-OR Agenda.