It’s a battle cry that graduate students have been chanting for years: let us organize!
Today, in a historic 3-1 ruling, the NLRB declared that graduate students at private universities are, in fact, employees — and are therefore eligible to organize, unionize and bargain as such. This ruling marks a reversal of the 2004 Brown University decision, wherein the NLRB ruled that graduate teaching assistants were primarily students, and were therefore ineligible for collective bargaining.
Today, the Board wrote otherwise: “a graduate student may be both a student and an employee; a university may be both the student’s educator and employer.” Continue reading Grad Students Are Employees: NLRB’s Historic New Ruling
In a recent article published in Labor Notes, Natasha Raheja, a third-year PhD student in Anthropology at New York University and a member of GSOC-UAW, celebrates the recent win for NYU’s graduate students, who, she writes, “are poised to again become the only private sector student workers with a union contract in the U.S.”
She then challenges her union to go further than it has,
“calling for more transparency and for building strength through member participation. We want to revive our organizing committee, hold biweekly open member meetings, and send members regular detailed updates. We want to end closed-door negotiations without student workers present and promptly replace our three resigned bargaining committee members.”
She explores some of the recent internal issues she sees the union facing — including a narrow focus and a lack of democracy — before concluding that:
“As the first unionized graduate student workers at a private university in the United States, we at NYU have the opportunity to create a model, good or bad. A member-led contract victory will reverberate across the academic labor movement.”
Read Raheja’s full statement at Labor Notes.
Photo by Michael Gould-Wartofsky via Labor Notes
On July 3rd, we posted Part III of Nick Unger’s series on union structures, labor history and union member consciousness. What follows is a response to that piece.
From Martin Morand, Professor Emeritus, Industrial and Labor Relations, Indiana University of Pennsylvania:
Nick’s (rare?) compliment (“Morand is right”) encourages me to plunge in and ahead.
Yes, “The Wagner Act promise of ‘labor peace through collective bargaining’ rings hollow.” How come? Not just because, “….we stopped using the tools that worked” — the sit down and general strikes — but because Wagner Never gave us ANYTHING MORE than the right to say to the boss, a la Oliver Twist, “Please sir, may I have some more?” It never gave a union a contract nor a worker a dime — except where, backing it up, was the power and threat of a strike. We became seduced and addicted to a process, to recognition of our right to exist, to legitimacy. To nothing more substantive than that.
Continue reading Responses to Nick Unger’s “Another Look at Labor in Dark Times – Part 3”
By Kitty Weiss Krupat
A brief profile of the American fashion designer, Elizabeth Hawes, appeared in T: The New York Times Style Magazine on Sunday, June 15. The essay, by Alice Gregory, is titled The Most Brilliant Fashion Designer, and it starts this way:
Introducing Elizabeth Hawes: genius writer, wry cultural commentator, perverse humorist, gifted artist and truly modern thinker. You’ve never heard of her.
Well, I, for one, have heard of her. She is the subject of my unfinished dissertation, and I agree. She was all those things. More people should know about her, and not just because she was a pioneering fashion designer or a “premature” second-wave feminist. Elizabeth Hawes was a life-long socialist, an ardent anti-fascist, a labor advocate, and an intellectual who was always interested in issues of class. In her work, she combined aesthetic principles with political economy to produce a unique vision of fashion design.
Continue reading Getting To Know Elizabeth Hawes, 1903-1971