The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is an association, er, of American law schools. The AALS annual meeting, which is held early in January, is a big event in the law professor community.
I first posted about the AALS annual meeting back in November 2008, when some law professors attempted to force AALS to boycott a San Diego, California hotel owned by a backer of California Prop. 8. The attempt failed, in a somewhat comical series of events chronicled in my post, Will Law Professors Boycott The Inauguration?
Now the boycott problem is back for AALS, because the annual meeting next January is being held in San Francisco. So?
So, a variety of unions are planning a strike and other labor action against various San Francisco hotels, including two of the three hosting the AALS annual meeting, which will mean the law professors will have to cross the picket line to attend. Needless to say, in the slightly left of center (hah!) law professor community, there are calls to move the meeting, cancel the hotel arrangements, etc. Just as happened in reaction to Prop. 8.
AALS, as it did with the Prop. 8 boycott, is choosing contractual obligation over [political] principles. AALS has circulated a letter, in pertinent part as follows:
AALS is not in any way commenting on the labor dispute in San Francisco. We regard our decision as the best among the bad choices we face. It is both painful and disappointing to anticipate the impact of an unresolved dispute on the conduct of our meeting, should that come to pass.
The letter provides the reasoning — namely that contractual obligations must be honored — and continues that there will be attempts at “amelioration” by relocating some activities to a non-union hotel.
So the net result is that there is a significant likelihood that law professors attending the AALS annual meeting will be crossing a picket line in San Francisco.