organizing university workers

Dayne Goodwin

What’s Fueling the Graduate Worker Union Upsurge?
by Dave Kamper, Labor Notes, March 22
. . .
In December, graduate workers at Boston University, affiliated with
SEIU, won 1,414-28. In January, Yale’s Graduate Employees and Students
Organization, Local 33 of UNITE-HERE, won 1,860-179, the culmination
of a campaign that has lasted 30 years.

Grads at Northwestern, affiliated with the UE, won 1,644-114. At Johns
Hopkins another UE affiliate, Teachers and Researchers United (TRU),
won 2,053-67. In February the West Coast chimed in: the grads at the
University of Southern California, affiliated with the Auto Workers,
won 1,599-122.

Grad workers at the University of Chicago (also UE) voted early this
year but had to wait for their vote count. The numbers finally came
out this week: 1,696 yes to 155 no.

In those six elections, 10,266 workers voted yes and only 665 no—94
percent in favor, representing bargaining units covering more than
19,000 workers.

Any one of those results looks just short of miraculous. But talking
with graduate employee members and leaders on several campuses, it’s
clear there’s no secret strategy—just solid, old-fashioned organizing.
What’s changed is that the workers are more ready than ever to fight
the boss and build the union.
. . .

Make One Big Higher Ed Union
by Hamilton Nolan, In These Times, March 21, 2023

Higher ed is unionizing. Like crazy! Last year, every single one of
the five largest filings for NLRB union elections in America — each
representing more than 3,000 members — were for graduate workers at
various universities. University of California workers pulled off the
biggest strike of 2022. New units of more than 1,000 people, rare in
most of the union world, have become commonplace in academia. This
wave shows no sign of slowing. Just this month, thousands more grad
workers at the University of Minnesota and Duke filed for elections.
Since the beginning of 2022, more than 45,000 graduate and undergrad
workers have made moves to unionize, according to Daily Union
Elections, a site that catalogs union filings. And those workers have
been voting “yes” for unions at nearly a 90% clip.
. . .