Update on Graduate Student Unionization
To: Graduate Students and Faculty
From: Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Update on Graduate Student Unionization
Date: May 25, 2017
The hearing on graduate student unionization that is taking place at the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago is proceeding fairly, with serious arguments and testimony. In the first five days, the University presentation included the testimony of deans and professors. Their testimony supported the University’s position that graduate students who serve as teaching and research assistants are foremost students, who are fulfilling degree program academic requirements designed by faculty to facilitate a successful transition from student to scholar. Additionally, University witnesses have shown the fundamental differences among the disparate groups of graduate students the union is seeking to fold into a single bargaining unit. Lawyers for the American Federation of Teachers/ American Association of University Professors have not yet presented witnesses.
In response to student requests, and in order to help our community independently assess the facts being presented, we have posted key legal documents (expired link removed) filed with the Board and full, unedited transcripts of the testimony and questioning from both sides. We will add more transcripts as they become available. Some union supporters have distorted the testimony and the substantive cases being presented. We want to ensure that graduate students who are eligible to vote can make their own independent judgments about unionization based on the best sources of information.
I encourage you to review the hearing documents and transcripts as you carefully consider your own opinion about unionization.