Graduate students at the University of Chicago voted overwhelmingly to unionize following a tally of votes held Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board.
The University of Washington graduate student vote follows a trade union victory at Northwestern University in January. Northwestern University is also represented by the National Association of Electrical, Radio, and Mechanical Workers as a graduate student representative. In recent months, graduate students at the University of Southern California and Yale also voted to unionize.
University of Washington graduate students voted to unionize 1,696 to 155, according to NLRB records.
The new negotiating unit will consist of approximately 3,200 graduate students.
Valai Agarawal, a sophomore in chemistry and the union’s communications secretary, said:
In a message to the university community on Friday, Ka Yee C. Lee Provost wrote that the university will negotiate in good faith with unions “with the goal of supporting the continued academic success of all graduate students.” .
“Thank you to everyone involved in this process, especially the students who voted for or against unionization,” Lee wrote.
University graduate students are organizing to improve wages and working conditions, including issues related to benefits, grievance procedures, and support for international students.
Agarawal said some graduate students are struggling because their current scholarships cannot afford to live in Hyde Park, where the university is located. According to the university, the minimum annual scholarship for a graduate student is $33,000 for him, and next year he will be raised to $37,000.
University of Washington graduate students were the first to vote to join the union in 2017. But after that vote, the institution called on her NLRB to reconsider her landmark 2016 decision to recognize private university graduate students as union-eligible employees. of he became one. Fearing an adverse decision from the Republican-controlled labor committee, the graduate union withdrew from her NLRB process in his 2018. They went on strike in his 2019 to lobby the university to formally recognize the union.
Graduate student applies to NLRB for union representation again in November.
“We are workers and deserve to be treated like workers,” Agarawal said.