MAASA Resolution on Labor Rights in a Time of Crisis
April 2011


WHEREAS, the Mid-America American Studies Association has among its ranks many members at public institutions who currently belong to academic labor unions, and many other members at private institutions who are currently prevented from choosing union representation due to anti-labor rulings and restrictions; and

WHEREAS, the academic labor movement has for decades sought to raise living standards for academic workers, to protect academic freedom, to combat the casualization of intellectual and academic labor, to assert the basic democratic right of employees to choose to engage in collective bargaining, and to eliminate barriers to advancement based on race, sex, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation; and

WHEREAS, organizing rights and collective bargaining for public-sector workers, including academic workers, are currently under fierce attack in many parts of the country, especially in the State of Wisconsin; and

WHEREAS, many of the workers who are affected by such attacks are our academic colleagues, valued for their rich contributions to our organization and to our discipline; and

WHEREAS, academic workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere have joined other public-sector workers in a popular movement to defend the rights of working people and the right to collective bargaining; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that MAASA stands in solidarity with the public-sector workers of the State of Wisconsin, and with the academic workers among their ranks who have fought an inspiring battle to protect the democratic right to organize, join a union, and engage in good-faith negotiations with their employers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that MAASA calls upon Wisconsin’s elected officials to reverse course in their attempts to destroy public-sector unions, including those at state institutions of higher education; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that MAASA expresses its support for the right of academic workers everywhere – including full-time employees, part-time and contingent employees, and graduate-student teachers and research assistants, be they at public or private institutions – to organize without fear of harassment or reprisals, to be free to choose union representation, and to engage in meaningful collective bargaining with their employers.

Adopted by the MAASA Executive Board on April 8, 2011, and by the MAASA membership meeting on April 9, 2011, in Madison, Wisconsin.