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Bill would give TAs at NYU (any US University) right to unionize

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-23-08 07:27 PM
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Bill would give TAs at NYU (any US University) right to unionize

A DU member was on the NYU picket line.

Legislation proposed to Congress last Thursday would allow teaching assistants at private universities to unionize.

The legislation, named the Teaching and Research Assistants Collective Bargaining Rights Act, amends the National Labor Relations Act. The amendment would change the definition of "employee" in the original NLRA to include all teaching and research assistants at private educational institutions like NYU.

This proposal comes three years after a strike by graduate assistants rocked NYU's campus. In the same year, strikes were organized by Columbia and Yale universities' teaching assistants, and since then, dozens of other strikes have occurred on campuses across the country. NYU's strike ended in spring 2006 without the university recognizing the TA union.

The strike at NYU was led by the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, a labor union representing all research and teaching assistants at the university. Andrew Ross, a professor of American Studies who fiercely criticized NYU's administration during the strike, said he thinks the new legislation is heading in the right, and moral, direction.

"Whether or not the bill is successful, I think it is only a matter of time before the legal climate shifts back to supporting the common sense position that graduate assistants are employees and that they have a democratic right to choose union representation," Ross said.

The new bill was drafted by Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. George Miller of California, head of the House Education and Labor Committee.

FULL story at link.

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tishaLA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-23-08 07:48 PM
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1. We University of California TAs have been unionized
for something like 10 years, after many years of struggle with the UC system. It has done a good deal to stop departments from making vindicative decisions about grad students and has offered us a good deal of security many other graduate students do not have. NYU's actions in the past were utterly shameful and, like Yale's punitive actions against the graduate student leaders of its labor movement, it reflects badly on the university, especially one in a large, expensive city that doesn't even pay graduate students enough to live with dignity.

The NYU situation was even more appalling because Catherine Stimpson, NYU's Dean of the Graduate School, had been a noted feminist scholar and her efforts on behalf of the university seemed like a kick in the teeth to feminist political activism.
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