December 8, 2011
"Graduate employees at private universities should have the same right as their counterparts at public universities to have a voice in their workplace through collective bargaining."
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Request for NLRB to Grant Union Rights to Private University Grad Employees
Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago, which represents teaching and research assistants at that institution, is gathering signatures on a petition to the National Labor Relations Board, asking for a ruling on the New York University Graduate Student Organizing Committee's petition for collective bargaining rights for graduate employees at the nation's private universities.
WASHINGTON—Graduate employees at private universities should have the same right as their counterparts at public universities to have a voice in their workplace through collective bargaining. Whether they work at a public or private institution, graduate employees are paid for their instructional and research work and should be able to negotiate fair wages, benefits and working conditions. For more than 40 years, graduate assistants at public universities have been recognized as employees at their institutions and, therefore, as eligible for collective bargaining rights, and the law should treat graduate employees at private institutions no differently.
The AFT stands with the graduate employees at the University of Chicago, New York University and other private universities in urging the National Labor Relations Board to recognize the rights of graduate employees to choose to form a union. The AFT has supported the right of graduate assistants at private universities to organize since our 2001 campaign at the University of Pennsylvania.
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: http://twitter.com/#!/rweingarten
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.