Grad. Students Unionize

Fifty UVa graduate students have formed a union, and will align with the national Communication Workers of America. UVa has 3,300 graduate students, many of whom work as graduate instructors and teaching assistants. Says a student union member, graduate students “teach the classes, grade the exams, grade the papers [and] advise the students.” Eric Swensen has the story in today’s Progress.

5 thoughts on “Grad. Students Unionize”

  1. Sometimes it is just “Posted by Waldo” and sometimes it is “Posted by Waldo“. Any reason?

  2. That’s weird — you mean sometimes it’s bold and sometimes it’s not?

    I’ve discovered that if I login as “waldo” (instead of “Waldo”), stories appear credited to the lowercase version.

    God, this software sucks. I’ll be so thankful when I get all of my ducks in a row to upgrade to PostNuke. Now that I took my last exam this evening (woo-hoo), that means that I get my nights back. Upgrading’s software is right up there on my priority list.

  3. From the article:

    Along with UVaís staff union, the student union faces large obstacles under state law, which prohibits public employees from striking and bars state agencies from collective bargaining with unions.

    But the student organization can still have an impact with the help of the CWA, said student union President Daniela Bell, pointing to the international unionís experience in other states such as Texas with similar labor laws and its lobbying muscle in Richmond.

    So it isn’t that unions are illegal in VA (contra Snook’s comments about the CPOA) or even that they are totally without power.

    Any legal eagles here want to clarify the picture?

  4. I’m not a legal eagle–wish I were.

    I think an equally interesting question is this: why are the graduate students moving ahead with unionization when there are only 50 of them so far who want to unionize? If indeed the rest of the grad employee population is not interested, it seems energy would be better spent trying to build support for a union. I know of other universities where the pro-union grads took several years to slowly and carefully build support for a union, so that when they did unionize, they had a majority of grad employees signing up.

    I think that declaring a union now just looks silly.

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