ASA 2011 Chicago cancellation makes the Chicago Tribune

ASA members received the email earlier this week: the 2011 ASA meetings scheduled for Chicago are going to be moved to a new location. This was the official explanation in the email (and press release):

The contracts between Chicago union hotels and UNITE HERE expired August 31, 2009. Since that time, there have been 11 bargaining sessions but contract negotiations are stalled. We have waited as long as possible to see if the contract situation would be resolved in deference to the importance of Chicago as a venue to the 2011 program. Without any resolution clearly in sight, the ASA Council voted unanimously to move the meeting from Chicago because ASA cannot guarantee that the facilities and environment necessary for our scholarly deliberations will be available.

The Chicago Tribune had a story on this decision on the front page of its business section Friday. While the ASA email was somewhat coy about the reason why the Chicago was not an acceptable site, the newspaper article has the more complete story:

More than 5,000 people were expected to attend the conference at the Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton.

The association’s decision came one day before a one-day strike Thursday by workers at the Palmer House Hilton — members of Unite Here Local 1 whose contracts expired in August 2009.

While the association said the hotels pledged to be able to accommodate the conference, “our members have been concerned that we meet in hotels where workers are treated properly in terms of wages and other working conditions,” Hillsman said.

It sounds like there are some widespread issues between workers and Hilton.

It is too bad this happened as I was looking forward to having the conference be close to home this year. And now the wait is on to see where the conference will actually be held…

Bleak job market in sociology and other disciplines

The job market in sociology is down quite a bit in recent years, according to a report from the American Sociological Association. The results are reported in Inside Higher Ed:

An association report issued Friday shows a 35 percent decline in the number of academic job postings in its job bank between 2008 and 2009, and that drop follows a 23 percent drop between 2006 and 2008, the year that the economic downturn started in full. (While not all sociology jobs are listed with the association, the job bank is a good proxy for the overall market, especially for tenure-track positions.)

While the report holds out hope for coming years, this will be tied to the fate of universities and colleges in general, which are then dependent on the overall economy. If certain pundits are right, such as Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, in suggesting that we may be on the verge of a higher education bubble, the job market could be tight for a while.