CGSU Congratulates Graduate Workers of Columbia on Union Victory

We’re writing with some great news. Columbia grads voted resoundingly for union representation: 1602 to 623!

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Congratulations and thanks to Columbia grads for kicking off the recent national movement for private university grad students to organize unions. This victory should inspire us to double our efforts towards our own goal of union representation in the Spring semester. But we won’t get there without your help!

Please email cornellgsu@gmail.com, call 607-319-0835, or visit http://cornellgsu.org/ to find out how you can get involved to help organize your own field. We need grads talking to other grads in each department to ensure a solid victory so we can get to the bargaining table and negotiate a contract at Cornell to address our workplace concerns!

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American Association of University Professors Responds to President Rawlings, Supports CGSU

Today, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued an excellent response to President Rawlings statements on grad unionization, and showed support for and solidarity with CGSU in our efforts to build a grad union here at Cornell.

This statement comes on the heels of responses by the faculty of the Cornell ILR School, undergraduates, and of course, CGSU itself.

You can find their statement here, as well as the full text below.


November 15, 2016

Graduate Employee Unions Protect Academic Freedom and Economic Security
AAUP/AAUP-CBC Statement in Response to President Rawlings’s October 27 Letter

On October 27, 2016, Cornell University interim president Hunter Rawlings III issued a statement on graduate student union representation at Cornell. This statement is the typical anti-union propaganda that almost every employer issues when facing the prospect of a union election.

The statement starts out by asking whether unionization is in the best interest of graduate education at Cornell. This is the wrong question; framing the issue in this manner is a pretext to attack unionization of graduate student employees at Cornell. The real questions are these: Will graduate student employees be better off if they unionize? Will the university administration lose the right to unilaterally dictate terms and conditions of employment for graduate student employees?

The statement claims that many workers at Cornell are unionized, that Cornell has partnerships with these unions, and that this demonstrates Cornell’s commitment to workers’ rights and organized labor. But somehow that commitment disappears when it comes to graduate student employees. Rawlings claims that unionization will hurt shared governance, will put collective interests and the interest of an “external labor union” ahead of individual interests of students, and could negatively affect the quality of education received by graduate students because federal labor law does not draw a boundary between academics and employment.

In fact, there is no reason why shared governance cannot coexist with collective bargaining and the two do coexist at many institutions. Unionization serves to strengthen the collective voice of graduate employees and gives them a legal right to participate in decision making at the institutional level, providing input which makes universities better.

The fundamental reason for any group of employees to seek unionization is that there is a power imbalance between employers and employees that can only be addressed when employees act collectively. President Rawlings’s letter acknowledges that issues raised by students have not been resolved, but offers to continue the status quo of collegial discussion rather than engage in what he calls adversarial bargaining. In fact, there is no inherent contradiction between individual rights and collective action. The rights that individual Americans have, including the right to free speech, are the result of collective action taken to secure them. The rights of individuals, in a world where certain individuals have more power than others, can only exist when there is collective action to define these rights, which is also a fundamental lesson of the founding of the AAUP.

There is no reason for collective bargaining to affect the individual educational experiences of students at Cornell. What it will affect is their employment experience. Rawlings’s letter raises the specter of an outside union unfamiliar with Cornell’s mission and values seeking to promote its own agenda. In fact, most unions are democratic organizations, and their agendas reflect the views of the majority of their members.

In our experience, graduate students have no interest in limiting opportunities for learning or creativity. At other institutions where graduate student employees have unionized, collective bargaining has not limited the opportunities for students to receive a first class education, but it has limited the power of administrators to unilaterally determine or make changes to terms and conditions of employment.

The experience of graduate student employees in the public sector where they have the right to unionize suggests that unions are compatible with, and can in fact enhance, shared governance. Unions protect academic freedom and provide graduate students with an increased measure of economic security. Therefore, the AAUP and the AAUP-CBC wholeheartedly support the right of Cornell graduate student employees to unionize, and categorically reject the falsehoods promoted in Rawlings’s October 27 letter.

Rudy Fichtenbaum, President, AAUP

Howard Bunsis, Chair, AAUP-CBC

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ILR Faculty Respond to President Rawlings on Grad Unionization

President Rawlings’ e-mail to the Cornell community in mid-October raised some concerns from faculty at the Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. In response, over 40 faculty at ILR came together to respond to what they have deemed “speculation and unsubstantiated assertions”.

You can find their great response letter here, as well as the full text below:


ILR Faculty Respond to Interim President Hunter Rawlings’ Statement on Graduate Assistant
Labor Union Representation

In his “statement on graduate assistant labor union representation” (October 27, 2016), Interim President Hunter Rawlings cites the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR School) as being “the leader in the field of labor education.” We write here as faculty of the ILR School, drawing on our expertise and experience in the field oflabor law, labor relations and labor rights. We agree with President Rawlings that it is essential that the University respect the graduate assistants’ choice of whether they wish to be represented by a union. We also agree that it is important that graduate assistants have access to information relevant to making their choice. Unfortunately, however, President Rawlings’ statement presents a negative view of unionization based on speculation and unsubstantiated assertions. In responding to these speculative claims, our letter seeks to provide useful information about the reality of unionization in universities.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) recognizes that employees have collective interests in joining together to improve their working conditionsfor employees’ “mutual aid or protection.”Whereas an individual employee, acting alone, usually lacks power to negotiate effectively with an employer, unionizing gives employees a collective voice that levels the playing field for negotiations. President Rawlings’ statement, however, is a drumbeat asserting that collective and individual interests are in opposition. This assertion mischaracterizes the purposes of unionization and the way collective bargaining works. Through negotiations with the employer for a collective bargaining agreement, unions attempt to achieve improvements that benefit all the individual employees in the bargaining unit,including higher wages, workload, health insurance, safe working conditions, and grievance procedures. Collective bargaining also enhances individual employees’ ability to express their priorities about needed improvements. The union negotiating team, which includes employees, creates bargaining proposals based on the priorities of the employees in the bargaining unit.

President Rawlings’ statement further relies on speculative and unsubstantiated fears that unionization of graduate assistants will interfere with graduate education, the faculty-graduate student academic relationship, and shared governance. These assertions are belied by the evidence and the best available empirical research on higher education practice. As the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) observed in its recent Columbia University decision upholding the right of teaching and research assistants to unionize and collectively bargain in private universities: “‘Collective bargaining by graduate student employees is increasingly a fact of American university life.’” The NLRB summarizes the extensive experience of collective bargaining in public universities: “Recent data show that more than 64,000 graduate student employees are organized at 28 institutions of higher education, a development that began at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1969 and that now encompasses universities in California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.” The NLRB concludes that close to 50 years of graduate assistant unions in public universities provides relevant and useful evidence that collective bargaining can extend to private universities. Additionally, as the NLRB observes, “Both the original and successor agreements at NYU addressed such matters as stipends, pay periods, discipline and discharge, job posting, a grievance-and-arbitration procedure, and health insurance—nearly all familiar mandatory subjects of bargaining across the private sector, which appear to have been successfully adapted to a university setting.”

The NLRB relied, as well, on academic research findings that unionization does not negatively affect faculty-student relationships. This research includes a recentsurvey-based study comparing unionized and nonunionized campuses, which confirmed the findings of prior surveys that unionization does not interfere with faculty-student relationships or harm the education or training of graduate students. (See, Sean E. Rogers, Adrienne E. Eaton, & Paula B. Voos, Effects of Unionization on Graduate Student Employees: Student Relations, Academic Freedom, and Pay, 66 ILR Review 487-510 [2013]). Moreover, this 2013 study found positive effects of unionization on faculty-student relationships, specifically, that unionized graduate students “had higher mean ratings on their advisors accepting them as competent professionals, serving as a role model to them, being someone they wanted to become like, and being effective in his or her role.” (p. 505).

Finally, unionization and shared governance have long coexisted. Faculty unions and graduate assistants unions in public universities engage in collective bargaining over terms and conditions of employment at the same time that faculty senate and graduate student assemblies engage in shared governance. This is the typical model in universities that the Cornell Graduate Students United and the Cornell Graduate and Professional Student Assembly can follow. The information and analysis we present here differ significantly from the perspective offered by President Rawlings. One point on which we do agree is that this is an important decision for the Cornell graduate assistants. Most importantly, the choice of whether to unionize belongs solely to the graduate assistants, not to President Rawlings and other university administrators, or to the faculty. We should ensure that the graduate assistants are able to freely and fully exercise their rights and their choices.

Ileen A. DeVault, Professor of Labor History, Academic Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell

Risa Lieberwitz, Professor of Labor and Employment Law

Jeff Grabelsky, Associate Director, The Worker Institute at Cornell

Lara Skinner, Associate Director, The Worker Institute at Cornell

Beth A. Livingston, Assistant Professor, ILR School

William Sonnenstuhl, Professor of Organizational Behavior

Rachel Aleks, Assistant Professor of Labor Relations

Eli Friedman, Assistant Professor, International and Comparative Labor

Gene Carroll, Co-Director, NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute

Maria Lorena Cook, Professor of International and Comparative Labor

Sam Nelson, Director of Forensics, Senior Lecturer, ILR

Aliqae Geraci, Senior Assistant Librarian and Research Team Coordinator, Catherwood Library

KC Wagner, Co-chair, Equity at Work, TheWorker Institute at Cornell

Kate Bronfenbrenner, Senior Lecturer, Labor Relations, Law, and History

James A. Gross, Professor ILR

John McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Studies

Jim DelRosso, Librarian and Digital Projects Coordinator, Catherwood Library

Adam Seth Litwin, Associate Professor of Industrial & Labor Relations

Barb Morley, Digital Archivist, Kheel Center for Labor Management Documentation and Archives

Allison Weiner Heinemann, Lecturer

Harry C. Katz, Jack Sheinkman Professor

Ron Applegate, Lecturer

Ian Greer, Senior Research Associate

Cheryl Beredo, Director, Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives

Nellie Brown, Director, Workplace Health and Safety Program

Maria Figueroa, Chair, Precarious Workers Initiative, Worker Institute at Cornell

VeronicaMartínez-Matsuda, Assistant Professor, ILR School

Lance Compa, Senior Lecturer

Linda Donahue, Senior Extension Associate

Richard Hurd, Professor of Labor Studies

Lowell Turner, Professor of International and Comparative Labor

Sally Alvarez, The Worker Institute at Cornell

Kate Griffith, Associate Professor, ILR School

Lou Jean Fleron, Extension Faculty Emerita, ILR School

Ben A. Rissing, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior

Emily M. Zitek, Assistant Professor of Organizational BehaviorLois S. Gray, Jean McKelvey-Alice Grant Professor Emerita of Labor Management Relations

Patricia Campos-Medina, Co-Director NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute/ILR’96

Art Wheaton, Senior Extension Associate

Esta R. Bigler, Director, Labor and Employment Law Program, ILR

D.S. Lamb, Assistant Director, Hospitality, Labor and Management Library

Dania Rajendra, Extension Associate

Kimberly Cook, Extension Support Specialist

Sarosh Kuruvilla, Professor, Industrial and Labor Relations

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Cornell graduate employees, admin ink election pact

Exciting news! The code of conduct with the admin is signed and live. Check out the media release here and the details of the agreement here.

Several press outlets have already covered this agreement.

Ithaca Voicehttp://ithacavoice.com/2016/06/cornell-grad-students/

Ithaca Journal: http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/local/2016/06/02/cornell-grad-students-strike-unionization-deal/85291102/

Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/06/02/cornell-writes-agreement-would-be-graduate-union-ahead-nlrb-ruling

Bloomberg BNA: http://www.bna.com/cornell-aft-reach-n57982073453/

Politicohttp://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-shift/2016/06/dnc-locks-out-nnu-nlrb-takes-class-waiver-fight-to-other-circuits-cornell-reaches-agreement-with-aft-214608 (3rd story under the NLRB Update)

Politico Prohttps://www.politicopro.com/states/new-york/albany/whiteboard/2016/06/cornell-grad-students-move-towards-union-elections-8606234 (Behind a Paywall, full text below)

Stay tuned for more coverage on this big agreement!

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Politico Pro: Cornell Grad Students Move Towards Union Elections

By Keshia Clukey

06/01/2016 03:16 PM EDT

Graduate students at Cornell University reached an agreement Wednesday with the university’s administration allowing them to hold a union campaign and election, according to a news release from the American Federation of Teachers.

The Cornell Graduate Students United is affiliated with the AFT and New York State United Teachers. The administration and Cornell Graduate Students United agreed upon a code of conduct that would allow for a union election should the National Labor Relations Board decide later this year to officially classify graduate assistants as employees, according to the release. An election would lead to formal recognition.

Under the agreement, a joint union-management committee comprised of university and Cornell Graduate Students United representatives will be formed to answer inquiries and address issues as they arise, according to the release.

“This agreement marks the opportunity for Cornell grads to begin to have a say over the terms and conditions of their employment,” AFT president Randi Weingarten said in the release. “I am confident CGSU and Cornell can work together to achieve mutual gains and that the agreement can serve as a guiding light for higher education institutions across the Ivy League and around the country.”

Read the agreement here: http://bit.ly/1Y2YQCD.

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/whiteboard/2016/06/cornell-grad-students-move-towards-union-elections-8606234

CGSU May 2016 Election Results

Earlier this month, CGSU members practiced some democracy and elected the CGSU Steering Committee members for 2016-2017. Below are the result from these May 2016 elections for CGSU Steering Committee positions, as well as for the constitutional amendments that were voted on!

Administrative Liaison: 

  • Michaela Brangan (85%)
  • Paul Ahrens (13%)
  • Abstain (2%)

GPSA Liaison: 

  • Jack Frost (98%)
  • Abstain (2%)

Membership Coordinator: 

  • Archishman Raju (99%)
  • Abstain (1%)

Treasurers (2):

  • Ben Cohen (91%)
  • Jeffrey Bergfalk (49%)
  • Abstain (N/A)

Communication & Outreach Committee Chair:

  • Ben Norton (98%)
  • Abstain (2%)

Organizing Committee Chair:

  • Sena Aydin (71%)
  • Andi Kao (25%)
  • Abstain (4%)

Research & Contract Committee Chair:

  • Bryan Gangemi (99%)
  • Abstain (1%)

Secretary/Chair of Legal Affairs:

  • Hannah Bahnmiller (n/a)
  • Katryn Evinson (withdraw)

Grievances Committee Chair:

  • Maggie Gustafson (67%)
  • Marc Kohlbry (30%)
  • Abstain (3%)

Unity Committee Chair:

  • Juan Guevara (98%)
  • Abstain (2%)

Constitutional Amendments

CGSU is proposing a constitutional amendment to our union bylaws. This amendment was drafted in a CGSU member-led working group, and it concerns the process by which we, as a union, endorse a petition in the event that CGSU is approached by any party seeking an endorsement of a signed document. The details of this proposed process are described in the distributed Voter Guide. Upon your review, please vote YES/NO on the amendment. 

  • YES 93%
  • NO 4%
  • Abstain 3%


CGSU is proposing a second constitutional amendment to our union bylaws. At the October 2015 General Assembly, in light of our affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers, CGSU members voted to forestall collecting the $5 dues required by Article VI, Section D(1). Please vote YES or NO to ratify the following amendment to our constitution, so that it reads: 1) Dues shall be reduced to $0 until a collective bargaining agreement is reached between CGSU and Cornell University or the amount is changed by general referendum as per Article VI, Section D(2).

  • YES 98%
  • NO 2%
  • Abstain 0%
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CGSU and Cornell administration in talks over conduct for unionization effort

This past Fall, the University administration reached out to CGSU to discuss   “developing a Union-University conduct rules and recognition election agreement” to guide the University and CGSU during the effort to build support and win recognition of CGSU as the labor union representing graduate student employees here at Cornell. CGSU accepted, in the belief that open lines of communication and positive working relationships can only strengthen this effort and show how powerful a union can be in representing the needs of graduate student employees.

While negotiations are still underway, CGSU and the University put together and released a joint statement (below) regarding these negotiations, in order to let members of the Cornell community know that this is happening.

Although the Cornell administration has stated that it doesn’t think that graduate student employees should be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act, it agrees with the Union that “the decision to join CGSU belongs to graduate students alone.” And although Dean Knuth mentioned the 2002 union drive in recent remarks to the Faculty Senate, we would like to point out that CGSU represents a new generation of scholars; the university after the 2008 collapse is a different environment for us; the conditions of our labor have changed; we have a new national affiliate with different message and a background in academic organizing. The University and CGSU “recognize there is a strong possibility that the National Labor Relations Board may soon overturn current case law to consider private university graduate student assistants to be employees under the National Labor Relations Act.” This decision would be a first legal step toward greater workplace democracy for graduate workers at all private universities.

Both the Cornell administration and CGSU want to make sure that fair and correct information can be presented in the coming months; this is the focus and purpose of the ongoing negotiations. If we are able to reach a tentative agreement, we look forward to bringing a proposed code of conduct and recognition election agreement to the CGSU membership to be deliberated and voted on in the coming weeks.


Joint Statement of Cornell Graduate Students United and Cornell University

April 13, 2016

Since mid-December, Cornell Graduate Students United and Cornell University have been working on developing a Union-University conduct rules and recognition election agreement that will serve as a common guide for the Union and the University as CGSU’s campaign to be the collective bargaining representative for Cornell’s graduate student assistants continues. Although discussions are still ongoing, negotiating teams representing the University and the Union hope to soon be able to reach a tentative agreement. If that happens, CGSU’s negotiation team would bring back a tentative agreement to be deliberated and voted on by the Union’s membership following its internal democratic process.

A guiding shared value that has carried the Union’s and University’s negotiations forward is that the decision to join CGSU belongs to graduate students alone. We respect graduate students’ choices. Cornell and CGSU are committed to working together to ensure that our community’s environment remains one in which the conditions for graduate students to make their own decisions about unionization without intimidation are achieved. Our negotiations have been setting a positive tone based on our shared values of dignity and respect for each other. We recognize there is a strong possibility that the National Labor Relations Board may soon overturn current case law to consider private university graduate student assistants to be employees under the National Labor Relations Act. In anticipation of this likely scenario, we believe that by proactively building a productive and considerate working relationship between the Union and University now, such a relationship will carry over into negotiations regarding a collective bargaining agreement if a majority of graduate student assistants selects CGSU as its representative.

We are proud of the work we have done to-date and we look forward to the work ahead. The Union and the University are committed to building a relationship that is aligned with Cornell’s core value of being a “collaborative, collegial, and caring community” [1] as well as its roles as a leader in labor relations education and as the land grant university of New York State.


[1] Cornell University, Cornell University at its Sesquicentennial: A Strategic Plan, p. 10 (available at http://www.cornell.edu/strategicplan)


 

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CGSU Responds to Cornell Brief against GWC

Earlier this week, Cornell filed an amicus brief along with eight other institutions opposing the right of graduate workers at Columbia University to be granted employee status and gain collective bargaining rights.  CGSU has collaborated on an opposing brief with AFT.  You can read our full response below and check out the coverage in the Cornell Sun.


CGSU Statement regarding Cornell administration’s co-signed amicus brief in the GWC v. Columbia NLRB case

Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC), the Columbia University graduate labor union, has an ongoing case before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that argues graduate employees at private universities work for the institutions they attend and therefore deserve basic labor rights and legal protections. The NLRB case, should it be decided in GWC’s favor, would reverse a precedent-setting 2004 decision by the G. W. Bush-era Board that ruled in favor of Brown University against its then-graduate union. This decision stripped graduate employees of their worker protections and held that the relationship between graduate students and the university was merely educational. Like GWC, Cornell Graduate Students United (CGSU) believes graduate employees, through their employment as teaching and research assistants, perform labor vital to Cornell’s mission and deserve to be recognized as workers. Close observers of the Board suggest that it will soon rule in our favor.

On Monday, the Cornell University administration, alongside six Ivy-league schools, Stanford, and MIT, co-signed an amicus brief authored by Harvard University lawyers and addressed to the NLRB that argues against the Columbia graduate workers. It suggests, incorrectly in our view, that because these institutions “do not measure teaching and research by graduate assistants in commercial or economic terms, the model of traditional collective bargaining cannot apply to them.” The brief also denies the similarity between the work of graduates at public and private institutions and argues, despite convincing evidence to the contrary, that collective bargaining threatens academic freedom.

CGSU is disappointed by Cornell’s support of the brief and its reticence to acknowledge the work done by graduate workers here in Ithaca. CGSU has contributed to an opposing amicus brief submitted by our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, in support of the Columbia graduate workers. We concur with and support AFT’s brief, which affirms that graduate assistants are workers and poses collective bargaining as the appropriate intermediary between graduate workers and their university and faculty management. Similar briefs have been filed by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (the national affiliate of Cornell’s Graduate-Professional Student Assembly) and by the major unions representing academic faculty in the U.S.: American Association of University Professors, American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, Committee of Interns and Residents, and United Steel Workers (GWC maintains a list of briefs both supporting and opposing them). Graduate colleagues at public universities across the nation have been unionized for decades, and evidence has shown that collective bargaining has been a helpful resource for strengthening the relationship between those colleagues and their advisors. Our collective experience as graduate workers has, further, shown just how economic our relationship with Cornell has become, as it continues to become run less like a school and more like a business.

Whether or not Cornell measures teaching and research done by graduate assistants in economic terms, this does not change the reality that we teach a majority of the classes and staff a majority of the labs on the Ithaca campus. The core educational functions of the university are based, to a large extent, on the labor of graduate employees, and their work thus has a real and measurable value. That the university would deny that value is precisely the problem and thus the point of the growing call from hundreds of thousands of graduate employees for bargaining recognition across the country. The graduate unionization movement is based on the notion that the individuals performing these functions should have a say in the conditions of their work and be granted the same rights and protections as their faculty advisors and the people who maintain the buildings in which they labor.

CGSU and GWC are both confident that in its deliberations the NLRB will recognize the functional equivalence between the work of graduate assistants and their faculty and staff employee colleagues, and subsequently the right of these groups to choose union representation.

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AFT files brief in crucial Columbia case

Cornell Graduate Students United’s national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), has filed an amicus brief in the Columbia University National Labor Relations Board case that will likely set a new precedent for grad student unionization efforts across the country. Crucial information contained in the brief was contributed by CGSU members.

The brief convincingly argues that the 2004 Brown University case was wrongly decided, and that graduate assistants are statutory employees entitled to collective bargaining rights. It emphasizes that collective bargaining may strengthen academic freedom and student-professor relationships. Read it here.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has also submitted an amicus brief arguing in favor of grad unionization. It can be read here. And the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) has filed a brief, name-checking Cornell.

 

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We Are Workers Day of Action!

Join members of CGSU and the greater Cornell community on October 15 to stand up for the rights of graduate employees! This will be a big national coordinated action with dozens of other grad employee unions across the country.  Tabling at Midday on Ho Plaza then activities throughout the afternoon.

CGSU has signed the following statement in preparation for October 15!

~

It is obvious that the graduate teaching and research assistants at private universities are workers. Across the country, we have come together in a mass unionization movement to petition the National Labor Relations Board to overturn Brown, recognize us as workers, and restore our right to collectively bargain fair contracts with our employers.

Many graduate workers at public universities are recognized as workers. However, because of the variation in state labor law, this does not hold true across all states. And even those graduate workers at public universities who are recognized as workers must constantly fight to keep this status and protect their rights and benefits. Public university graduate employees are joining We Are Workers day not only in solidarity with grad workers at private schools, but also to bolster worker movements at their own campuses.

This October 15th, we are holding public events across our campuses. We will be reaching out to the public to raise awareness about our movement, and we will be calling on the NLRB to rule quickly and favorably on our cases. Graduate worker unionization will make a stronger, more just society for everyone.

Our movement is also a declaration that teaching and research are the mission of the university. Having a voice in determining the terms of our labor will help us make the university a place where teaching and research are the first priority.

In declaring that We Are Workers, we join a rapidly growing movement of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty on university campuses all over the country who are seeking to define academic labor as labor, with the broader aim of reforming higher education.”

`

wetheworkersrevised2

Welcome to Cornell and welcome to your union!

CGSU is the labor union of graduate student employees who keep the university functioning.  We work to advance the educational and research mission of a stronger, more democratic Cornell by advancing the interests of our university’s graduate employees. As we begin a new semester and new academic year it is important for us to work together to build our union and keep up the effort to improve graduate student working conditions to make the university a better place to work and learn. We’ve had some big victories so far — let’s keep the momentum going!

To join or find out more, email your union at cornellgsu@gmail.com about how to get involved and to get updates about upcoming meetings and actions.

Cornell GSU in solidarity poster festival!

At our Weekly Action Meeting, CGSU showed its solidarity with graduate student workers striking at York University and the University of Toronto and congratulated our comrades at GSOC-UAW who reached an historic agreement (again!) with the NYU administration. Check the pics below.

CGSU General Assembly Meeting #3

Welcome back to campus! CGSU will be holding our third general meeting of the 2015 academic year on SUNDAY 2/8. We will be discussing organizing strategy as we build CGSU and learn from successes at NYU, Columbia, and the New School. Come join us, contribute your thoughts, become an organizer, or just add your voice to the growing grad student unionization movement. Please email your agenda items, questions, concerns to cornellgsu@gmail.com or post on the CGSU Facebook wall. Even if you can’t attend in person, we’d love to hear from you with any and all feedback.

An orientation for new members will start half an hour earlier, at 4:30pm.

When: Sunday, 5-6:30pm

Where: Ives Hall 219

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CGSU, After the Retreat: Minutes, Action Items, and Moving Forward

Thanks to everyone who attended the recent retreat! It was a long day, but we got a lot of work done and had a great turnout. We looked back on what we’ve accomplished so far, and spent a little bit of time thinking about what’s ahead.

If you weren’t able to join us at the Retreat, we still welcome any and all participation by graduate students! If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for one of our standing committees to add your voice to the graduate student unionization movement! The standing committee chairs and emails are: Emily Hong, Organizing CommitteeAndrew Crook, Communication and OutreachJane Glaubman, Unity CommitteeMichaela Brangan, Legal AffairsKatryn Evinson, Grievances CommitteeJack Frost, Research & Contract Committee.

Feel free to contact any standing committee chair with comments or questions! And look out for an announcement soon about our next General Assembly Meeting which will be focused on the union’s future strategy.