A victory for workers at the U

The clerical, janitorial and other workers at the U, who have been in contract negotiations for months, have won what look like strong contracts: nontrivial pay raises, including a minimum of $15/hour, six weeks maternity leave (giving them parity with other groups on campus, including professors), and no increases in health care costs.  Kudos to them for doing the hard work necessary to make this happen, and having it pay off.  Hopefully academic staff will learn from them, come together as a union, and join the collective fight to make the U a better, fairer place.


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2 Responses to A victory for workers at the U

  1. Ana says:

    This made me curious, how does maternity leave work for professors? Is there some way to equate six weeks off with not teaching for a semester?

  2. JBL says:

    Good question! (Also because six weeks is only half of a semester here.)

    Two assistant professors of my acquaintance have had children in the past year or so. I believe that one of them arranged not to be teaching during the semester in which she gave birth. The other had a due date in mid April and was teaching a graduate class, so initially planned to teach and to fit a semester’s worth of material into the first 2/3rds of the term. But she gave birth a few weeks prematurely; it is not clear to me what happened to her class after that.

    This information (which is all I know) doesn’t really answer the important questions, namely: how did these arrangements come about, and did it cost them anything (e.g., in forgone pay, or in having to make up additional teaching later)? I assume that to a certain extent this was all settled on the level of “the department chair is a decent guy, he was happy to work out any reasonable accommodations,” though I think (but am not certain) that the second person I mentioned was sort of left on the hook for finding a substitute (which is perhaps why she tried to cram everything into 10 weeks).

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