Teaching and Research Assistants Collective Bargaining Rights Act
(from Andy Cornell of NYU/GSOC):
We have some exciting news to share! Two of our allies on Capitol Hill, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Representative George Miller, have just introduced federal legislation to amend the National Labor Relations Act to grant collective bargaining rights to teaching and research assistants at private universities and colleges.
The Teaching and Research Assistants Collective Bargaining Rights Act would correct the bad 2004 decision made by Bush appointees to the National Labor Relations Board which NYU hid behind in refusing to negotiate a new union contract with us. Eventual passage of this bill which our union, the UAW, has been pushing on our behalf, will stop NYU from continuing to engage in the egregious union-busting tactics of the last several years, and help us sit down as equals at the negotiating table to work out issues like pay, health benefits, and working conditions.
Over the next several months, we will all have a role to play in supporting this legislation. Now is a great time to update your phone number and address, which you can do by replying to this e-mail, so we can stay in touch as things unfold.
REPLY by e-mail with to add your name to a letter of support and thanks for this bill to the current sponsors and co-sponsors: Senators Kennedy, Brown, Clinton, Feingold, Obama and Schumer and Representatives Andrews, Grijalva, and Tierney. We will be in touch again soon with more that we all can do to help see the bill passed and signed.
As Senator Kennedy said on the floor of the Senate, “It’s important for Congress to do more to guarantee graduate students the right to organize and to bargain over their wages and working conditions as teaching and research assistants, so I’m introducing legislation today to do so.
More than ever in modern education, teaching and research assistants are in classrooms every day, educating students in colleges and universities across the country. Their numbers are increasing as the number of full time faculty dwindles. Often, teaching and research assistants are now doing the same job as junior faculty members.
In fact, the classroom is a workplace for these scholars. It’s where they earn the money they need to pay to put food on their tables and a roof over their heads. They deserve the right to stand together and make their voice heard in their workplace. Like other employees, they should have the right to join a union and improve their working conditions. Obviously, better wages and working conditions for them also means better education for their students.
. . . The National Labor Relations Board is supposed to protect the rights of American workers, but it is failing teaching and research assistants, just as it has failed so many others. By passing the Teaching and Research Assistants Collective Bargaining Rights Act, Congress will give these workers back the rights that the National Labor Relations Board has taken away.”
You can read his full statement at http://kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom/press_release.cfm?id=eac9f6af-730d-4f4c-b10a-2a98b2c70328