NLRB Rule Change Petition
We call on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to maintain graduate student status as recognized workers in the American workforce with the right to organize and negotiate with universities. As graduate student workers, we fulfill vital labor roles in a variety of ways, including but not limited to work as: teachers; researchers; laboratory technicians; conference panelists, discussants, organizers, and support staff; community builders; and representatives of our universities, states, and countries across the United States and around the world. We are simultaneously in the background and foreground of university and community support, earning a right to workers’ rights for the labor we perform on a daily basis.
The NLRB’s move to end their recognition of graduate student work as work is a clear attempt to hamstring our ability to defend our rights. Unions are crucial to a balance of power at the university because they enable graduate students to come together as a group - to hold the university accountable for its actions, to prevent an abuse of power and or an abuse of its workers. We are stronger together, we can better improve worker conditions together, and together we will build a better university for everyone.
Unions can also work towards particular ends that would otherwise not be successful without the support of graduate students across campus. Here at Johns Hopkins, the Teachers and Researchers Union (TRU) has in the past few years attained major accomplishments that benefited graduate students and the rest of the university. Three successes include:
1. Expanded health care plans covering dental and eye insurance for all graduate students, giving students less stress about their health and thus allowing them to better focus on the work they perform for Johns Hopkins.
2. Advocated with and provided support for the #JHToo movement that rescinded anthropology professor Juan O’Barrio’s tenure for over a dozen sexual harrassment and sexual assault violations, protecting future students from abuses and demonstrating how such abuses from other university workers will not be tolerated for the safety and security of workers.
3. Establishment of child care vouchers for graduate student parents, permitting parents to have families without undue stress and worry over finances. The vouchers have a two-fold benefit: first, they help build better families that contribute to Baltimore’s diversity and cultural life, and second, they give graduate student parents more time and energy to devote to their work at the university.
Although the proposed NLRB rule does not change the fundamental fact that we are workers, it is an unjust attempt to prevent us from organizing as is our right under United States law. We demand that the NLRB rescind the proposed rule to end graduate students’ recognition as university laborers, because we deserve federal support for our ability to organize for our rights as workers.
Johns Hopkins Department or Other Affiliation:
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