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 19, 2017
Yesterday the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) granted the University’s request for a hearing to present evidence supporting our position that University of Chicago graduate students are students, not employees under federal labor law. It also granted a hearing on whether GSU/Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (“Union”) properly grouped certain categories of graduate students with others in the same union bargaining unit, and on the issue of who may be eligible to vote in a possible election.
The hearing will proceed daily until the parties have litigated all of these issues, enabling the University to present testimony and documents in support of its positions.
A graduate student labor union could have complex and potentially unintended effects for graduate students, faculty, and the University’s distinctive approach to research and education. We encourage all members of our community to take the time to study the potential consequences of placing a labor union between students, faculty and the University and participate in dialogue about whether a labor union would help or hurt graduate education at the University of Chicago.
We will keep you updated on any further developments. In the meantime, more information on the Union’s attempt to represent graduate students can be found here (expired link removed).