This post kicks off what we hope will be an ongoing series about graduate student unionization in light of the National Labor Relations Board decision. If you or someone you know would be interested in writing a guest post for the CSGSP blog on the MLA Commons, send us your pitches!
As MLA Executive Director Rosemary Feal reminded us in her recent email, since 1999 the MLA has formally endorsed graduate student unionization through two ratified resolutions. Resolution 2 affirms that graduate students are employees while Resolution 3 endorses the rights of all academic employees to engage in collective bargaining.
Whereas the “apprenticeship” model no longer obtains in a job system that fails to guarantee employment in the fields for which graduate students train, even while graduate students are typically expected to do much the same work, often without instruction, as their “masters” do;
Be it resolved that the MLA asserts that graduate students–when researching, teaching, or otherwise performing services for paid compensation for their professors, departments, or colleges–are employees, even if they are mentored or supervised in those capacities.
The MLA endorses the right of all academic employees–full- and part-time faculty members, graduate employees, and support staff–to engage in collective bargaining if they choose to do so. We believe in the democratic right of employees to decide how to negotiate their salaries and working conditions; accordingly, we believe that all administrators should honor the results of employee votes taken by secret ballot on collective bargaining and union representation.