Graduate student workers at American University voted earlier this month to organize a union with SEIU Local 500, which also represents AU’s adjunct faculty. It will be the District’s first union for working graduate students. “Forming a union was never about quick fixes to issues, but about creating a space for developing long term solutions to issues like economic and academic uncertainty," said Scott Patrick, a first-year doctoral student in government and comparative politics. The National Labor Relations Board said last summer that graduate student employees at private institutions are entitled to collective bargaining. While a number of private institutions have challenged the NLRB’s decision and their students’ right to collective bargaining, AU spokesperson Camille Lepre said via email that the university "respects the choice of the majority of the graduate students who voted, and it does not intend to file a legal challenge to the election results. We look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the union about issues related to our graduate students."
- adapted from reports in Inside Higher Ed and AU's The Eagle. photo by Christopher Honey