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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) Academic Discussion

Cornell Grad Students Will Be Allowed Vote to Unionize


(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

Cornell Graduate Students United have started to an agreement with Cornell’s administration that enables?graduate students to campaign and host an election that would recognize CGSU as the graduate student union and representative in collective bargaining.

According towards the agreement, graduate assistants might have the ability to make decisions as to whether or otherwise to join the union when federal policy sees a big change.

A press release in the American Federation of Teachers notes that the reversal on the previous decision made on the matter is expected from the National Labor Relations Board within the coming months, reports Josh Girsky for The Cornell Daily Sun.

Under the agreement, graduate students who are enrolled in programs in the Ithaca or Geneva campus of Cornell could be allowed to unionize. ?Those students would be required to work as teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, research assistants, or graduate assistants.

The agreement maintains the AFT New York State United Teachers will form a partnership with CGSU. ?The result could?make Cornell certainly one of very few private universities that provide graduate students collective bargaining rights.

However, the agreement does not come without controversy as?universities across the nation further define?the function of graduated pupils.

While some argue that graduate students should be considered to be employed by the university because they teach classes and help professors in labs, not everybody agrees. ?An amicus brief was signed by administrators from Cornell in March that was written by lawyers from Harvard University stating that graduate research and teaching positions are part of?\”a fully integrated educational experience,\”?and \”the market price of any teaching services supplied by doctoral candidates is not taken into consideration when determining stipends provided to students teaching throughout their graduate programs.\”

The brief was signed by nine other universities.

At the same time, graduate students state that they are not given enough compensation for that work they offer the university as teaching assistants and research assistants, particularly when the rising cost of tuition is accounted for.

CGSU member and negotiating team leader Michaela Brangan says the agreement, although hard to reach, is going to be worthwhile.

\”It will give you our members with needed clarity and protections, and it has the added benefit of fostering a mutually respectful relationship between Cornell and CGSU in the months and years to come,\” she said in the release.

NYSUT President and AFT v . p . Karen Magee was at agreement, saying that the work performed by graduate students should allow them to be acknowledged as employees.

\”Without the precious labor of their graduate employees, Cornell would struggle to fulfill its obligations to the students, the community and New York State,\” she said within the release. \”By setting out a clear and transparent election process, graduate workers are well on the way to being treated as advanced schooling professionals.\”

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