News, University News

Graduate students vote to unionize

576 graduate students voted in favor of SUGSE, AFT union, 394 against

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Once the election results have been certified, the University will recognize Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees and the American Federation of Teachers as "the exclusive representatives of graduate assistants in the bargaining unit on employment matters," wrote Provost Richard Locke P’18 and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Campbell.

A majority of eligible graduate student voters supported unionization in an election that took place Nov. 14-19, Provost Richard Locke P’18 and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Campbell wrote in a community-wide email. Though the results have yet to be certified, the American Arbitration Association recorded 576 votes for unionization and 394 votes against, according to the email.

“We’re so happy with the results and really proud of the work that we’ve all put in — the hundreds of hours of organizing that’s gone into this and just the display of solidarity from our colleagues that led to this result,” said Hilary Rasch GS, a member of Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees.

“Final certification of the outcome will not occur until all valid ballots are counted and any election-related disputes are resolved,” Locke and Campbell wrote. Approximately 1,250 graduate students — doctoral or master’s students who are or were TAs, RAs or proctors in fall 2018, spring 2018 and fall 2017were eligible to vote.

Once the outcome is certified, “the University will recognize SUGSE (and the American Federation of Teachers) as the exclusive representatives of graduate assistants in the bargaining unit on employment matters.”

Graduate assistants are defined as “all Brown PhD and master’s students enrolled in the Graduate School who are engaged in research or instructional services,” according to the Pre-Election Agreement between the University, SUGSE and AFT.

”Per the June 2018 Union-University Pre-Election Agreement, Brown and SUGSE/AFT will begin negotiations over the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, and we will work in good faith around the important matters of wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment for the members of the bargaining unit,” Locke and Campbell wrote.

“We’re going to deliver our intention to bargain soon, and I hope that will initiate the process quickly,” Rasch said.

Furthermore, after the results are certified, SUGSE will begin developing its “governing structures and bodies” to handle negotiating and bargaining, according to SUGSE’s website.