December 19, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Graduate teaching and research assistants at Columbia University in New York have voted to be represented by the United Auto Workers, the union announced Dec. 9, with more than 70% voting yes.
The National Labor Relations Board paved the way for the vote in August, when it reversed a Bush-era decision that graduate assistants at private universities did not have the right to unionize because they were more students than employees. “This is just the beginning of great things to come for the Columbia community, and we’re proud to stand with graduate workers to bargain collectively for important improvements to pay and benefits that strengthen academic quality and student success,” UAW Region 9A director Julie Kushner, said in a statement. Graduate assistants at Harvard University voted on whether to join the UAW in November, but the NLRB is still trying to resolve challenges to about 1,200 ballots. Read more