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I Want to Be a Member of a Graduate Student Employee Union Because...

By Cary Nelson

A union will stand up for my economic interests.

  • I want a voice in establishing both my working conditions and the rights and standards of the profession.
  • Graduate student employees deserve to receive a living wage in exchange for their work.
  • By working collectively, graduate student employees can make certain that their compensation is a campus priority.
  • I cannot concentrate on my professional development if I am distracted by economic insecurity.
  • Graduate student employees should not have to go into debt while teaching or working as research assistants.
  • Unions have been very successful at improving health-care benefits
  • I am interested in learning how university budgeting works.
  • A union gives graduate student employees a voice in budget decisions.

A union will improve conditions in the workplace.

  • A union contract is the only way graduate student employees can guarantee they will benefit from due process both in the workplace and in all other areas of their professional lives.
  • A union can guarantee safe working environments.
  • A union protects graduate student employees against the occasional rogue supervisor whose expectations are unreasonable or whose behavior is unprofessional.
  • A union can protect me individually and graduate student employees collectively from retaliation for critical remarks about departmental, workplace, or university policy.
  • A union can guard against unreasonable efforts to delay degree completion.
  • I want an experienced third party to assist me with any workplace grievances that arise.
  • A union can provide access to legal representation in handling professional problems.

A union will support my professional development.

  • I want to begin integrating the professional values, standards, and rights of the faculty into my life now.
  • I cannot learn what it means to be a member of a profession if I concentrate exclusively on my personal research.
  • A union will enable me to be part of a university-wide community.
  • Meeting people in a variety of disciplines will help prepare me to be a more effective colleague.
  • Graduate student employee activism will maximize my leadership skills and help make me an effective advocate in my future career.
  • Graduate students are the future of the profession, and the profession needs citizen-scholars who expect a voice in the workplace to be the norm.

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