September 1, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Columbia, MO – The National Labor Relations Board’s Aug. 23 ruling that graduate student assistants are employees who have the right to collective bargaining applied only to private universities, but the University of Missouri’s graduate assistants hope it will open the doors to them winning union rights too.
They voted in April to be represented by the Coalition of Graduate Workers, but the university’s administration has refused to recognize the union, with interim Chancellor Hank Foley saying that he thought they “should be graduate students first and workers second.” “In light of this ironclad, national precedent in favor of graduate student employee organizing, we call on the University of Missouri to end their legal battle to block graduate student employee unionization,” coalition co-chair Eric Scott said a statement. Graduate students began organizing in August 2015, after the university abruptly terminated their health-insurance subsidies, and got them reinstated a week later. Read more