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December 06, 2008

ITALIAN POSTDOCS Fight for their Rights & a Place in the Academic Structure?

PostDocs around the globe are stirred into a new type of consciousness about their plight, reacting to their slavery conditions in university and academic institutions they are up and ready to fight for recognition and better treatment. The first evidence for this growing level of new found consciouness started at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) , Farmington, CT USA  through their unionization few years ago. It took a while for the impact of their unionization to make an impact and to be visible elsewhere, especially when it happens at the UC-California campus...,
... it was not so hard to feel the impact. Then came the news from one of the Canadian university where postdocs are increasingly agitated by the poor status of the postdocs and they are one step close to unionization. But, this time, the news is from Italy. The Italian Postdocs are in the street protesting and fighting to change the "death" of postdocs role in the universities?.
Reform plan enrages Italian researchers; postdocs protest attempt to make university system more flexible.
Trooping through streets alongside empty hearses, Italian postdoctoral researchers mark what they consider the death of their role in the country's universities. Others cover themselves under sheets as a symbol of their ghostly presence in the country's higher education world. They are joined by associate and ordinary professors who display unmistakable protest signs: "Good-bye, Moratti." 

Issues & Perspectives (From Sciencemag.org)  

Luca Leuzzi Young Italian Scientists Take to the Streets

Luca LeuzziThere are no guarantees even for scientists who were in the process of being brought into permanent positions.

In most countries, Luca Leuzzi would be well on his way to tenure. After obtaining a Ph.D. in theoretical physics cum laude from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Leuzzi came back to his native Italy in 2002 for a 2-year postdoc at Statistical Mechanics and Complexity, a National Research Council center at the University of Rome, "La Sapienza." Leuzzi, who is 36 years old, obtained a 5-year position there (akin to a tenure-track position elsewhere) in January 2005. He was confident that, in time, he would obtain tenure.

But Leuzzi's career aspirations, along with those of many other researchers on short-term contracts in Italy, have collided with a series of new laws that will severely reduce national resources for universities and research centers, part of a larger plan to boost the country's economy.
Today, Leuzzi's prospects are "quite unclear," as he puts it. "The only thing I know is that either I'm in, or I have to leave.

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PRO/UAW Site

http://www.prouaw.org/home/home.php
Here is the PostDoc Wheel of PRO/UAW, this is like the Wheel of Dhamma of Lord Buddha's that is a symbol of justice and liberation. The latest news from PRO/UAW is very promising to the 5000 or more postdocs in different campuses of University of California System.
PRO/UAW

The Union for Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California
PRO/UAW is the Union for over 5,000 Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California. By signing up a majority of Postdocs, we can exercise our legal rights to bargain with UC. Postdoc representatives we choose will survey us to determine priorities and will then negotiate a contract with UC. We can negotiate for improvements in wages, hours, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. Postdocs will then have an opportunity to democractically approve the agreement that UC and our bargaining team reach, before it becomes a binding contract.