Alex Hammond '18 details his platform as he runs for local town supervisor in his hometown, Waddington.

ILR Senior Up for Election in Hometown

Hammond then decided to take matters into his own hands for his hometown. He set aside his original plans of going to law school and ran for office.

lte ilr 4-20

Letter to the Editor: ILR faculty object to Cornell’s coercive conduct prior to CGSU election

To the editor:

As faculty members in the Cornell University ILR School, we are deeply concerned about the conduct of the Cornell administration on March 26, the eve of the Cornell Graduate Students United election and on March 27, the first day of voting in the election. On both days, Cornell’s Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara Knuth sent emails to thousands of Cornell graduate students with messages that interfered with graduate employees’ ability to freely exercise their rights to choose whether to be represented by the CGSU. In raising our concerns about Dean Knuth’s conduct, we draw on our expertise and experience in the field of labor law, labor relations and labor rights. Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is unlawful for an employer to make statements that would have the tendency to “interfere with, restrain or coerce” employees in exercising their rights to choose whether to unionize.  Unlawful coercive statements by employer representatives include explicit or implicit threats that the employer may cut back on jobs if employees vote for a union.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | ILR Faculty Respond to Interim President Hunter Rawlings’ Statement on Graduate Assistant Labor Union Representation

To the editor: 

In his “statement on graduate assistant labor union representation” (October 27), Interim President Hunter Rawlings cites the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR School) as being “the leader in the field of labor education.” We write here as faculty of the ILR School, drawing on our expertise and experience in the field of labor law, labor relations and labor rights. We agree with President Rawlings that it is essential that the University respect the graduate assistants’ choice of whether they wish to be represented by a union. We also agree that it is important that graduate assistants have access to information relevant to making their choice. Unfortunately, however, President Rawlings’ statement presents a negative view of unionization based on speculation and unsubstantiated assertions. In responding to these speculative claims, our letter seeks to provide useful information about the reality of unionization in universities.

Labor leaders discuss the process of organizing unions and organizing at the ILR School’s annual Union Days.

School of Industrial and Labor Relations Hosts Annual Union Days Conference

The School of Industrial and Labor Relations kicked off its annual three-day Union Days this Wednesday, bringing together various union leaders to talk about this years topic, “Workers Without Borders.”
The event included a guest panel including Ben Norton, grad, of the Cornell Graduate Student Union, Alex Ivovic representing the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union, Scott Marsland of Cayuga Medical Center nurses and Patrick Quinn, Patricia Greenberg and Ruth Heller of Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199 NE. Norton’s talk focused on his experience organizing students while in England and the difficulties international students face here at Cornell. “In England, I got involved with helping to organize people on campus to go and help protest against the British government as they increased university fees,” he said. “The experience has been very different in America. When I was in England, I was trying to get people to volunteer to get heckled by heavy-handed police.”
The labor issues in the U.S. are different than those in England, according to Norton.

ILR Students Protest Labor Cartoon Exhibit

Student pushback to a number of political cartoons displayed in Ives Hall, and the alleged theft of one of the pieces, has prompted a discussion about freedom of speech and political discourse in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and around campus. Gary Huck and Mike Konopacki, two of the leading labor cartoonists in the country, were invited to the ILR Labor Roundtable, hosted by the school on Nov. 13. The event is held annually to show students ways they can become professionally involved in the labor rights and social justice movements, and consistently features guest artists. 

As in previous years, the artists’ work was installed in a temporary exhibit on the first floor of Ives Hall, but this year some of the pieces made students uncomfortable, leading some to request their removal, according to Prof. Kate Bronfenbrenner, industrial and labor relations. Students contacted student services to express their discomfort, particularly with two of the pieces: one featuring the GOP elephant with its trunk up a woman’s skirt and another with a swastika superimposed on the confederate flag, according to Bronfenbrenner.

Guest Lecturer Gives ILR Students New Perspective

About 60 ILR students saw their course work come to life yesterday when Patricia Kakalec, deputy bureau chief from the New York Attorney General’s Labor Bureau, lectured to two ILR classes taught by Prof. Kati Griffith, labor and employment law. Kakalec regaled students with real-life anecdotes of subpoenas, labor lawsuits and depositions.
While the focus of Griffith’s courses are the study of law, she explained that, “We study … what the law actually is, but students often don’t have exposure to real practice, real cases, what’s going on out there. So I brought [Kakalec] as somebody who actually enforces the law from the government’s point of view … I think students should get a sense of how things work in the real world.”