Cornell University

April 2 2014

Union Days 2014

Living wage and equality themes of "From Fast Food to Football"

Part of the conversation at Union Days 2014 will be this week’s decision by a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board that Northwestern University scholarship football players are employees with the right to unionize.

“Fighting for Equality: From Fast Food to Football” is the theme of the April 9-10 event, which will touch on many labor issues in the headlines during the past year.

Professor Risa Lieberwitz, chair of the Union Days committee, said the football decision could influence other college sports teams and could prove persuasive for state labor boards interpreting state collective bargaining laws covering public employees.

The national labor board, in deciding in 2004 that graduate student research and teaching assistants are students and not employees, ruled on another controversy that will also be discussed at Union Days, free and open to the public.

Events kick off April 9 with a 4:30 to 6 p.m. panel in 105 Ives Hall entitled "The Fight for a Living Wage – From Farm to Table."

National, regional and local organizations will be represented by participants from the:

  • Tompkins County Workers Center Living Wage Campaign
  • Cornell Farmworker Program 
  • Fast Food Forward 
  • New York Communities for Change 
  • Restaurant Opportunities Center United. 
Breakout discussions will be held from 6 to 7 p.m.

On April 10, Union Days’ Social Justice Career Fair will be held 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 423 of King-Shaw Hall, part of the ILR Conference Center.

Cornell alumni and others from labor and non-profit organizations will host information tables and meet informally with students.

Also on April 10, a panel entitled “Fighting for Equality in Education, Sports and the Fashion Industry” will be held from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m. in Ives Hall. Participants will include members of:

  • United University Professions 
  • Fair Pay Campaign 
  • Cornell Varsity Football 
  • The Model Alliance 
  • Graduate Student Organizing Committee-UAW Local 2110 at New York University 
  • ILR Sports Business Society 

Union Days is sponsored by The Worker Institute at Cornell. Co-sponsors include: ILR Office of Labor Education Research, Cornell Organization for Labor Action, Cornell Students Against Sweatshops, ILR Office of Career Services, ILR Office of Student Services, Catherwood Library, Tompkins County Workers Center, Cornell Farmworker Program, ILR Sports Business Society, ILR Graduate Student Assembly, Black Graduate and Professional Students Assembly, Cornell Law School Labor Law Clinic and Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives.