University of Chicago Graduate Workers Vote to Affiliate with AAUP and AFT


Graduate employees at the University of Chicago have overwhelmingly re-affirmed their choice to organize for collective bargaining with the AAUP, AFT and IFT.

Members of Chicago Graduate Students United voted for continued AAUP-AFT-IFT affiliation in a ballot that concluded Tuesday night. Since 2007, GSU has been working to improve conditions for graduate workers and on campus and has made significant gains. Since 2011, GSU has been jointly affiliated with AAUP-AFT-IFT.

“It’s great that we have a strong democratic mandate to move forward with organizing for union recognition. We have been working together with the campus community for years to improve conditions for those employed here, studying here, and ultimately for the broader community and we are proud of our successes. We are excited to move forward to achieve formal union recognition and to have that seat at the table we need to exercise a meaningful voice in campus democracy,” says Abhishek Bhattacharyya, a graduate employee at the University of Chicago and member of the AAUP committee on graduate and professional students.

Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the AAUP said, “The AAUP is thrilled to be working with graduate employees at the University of Chicago. Members of Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago have shown their commitment to creating a member-run union as they campaigned to improve conditions on their campus. The AAUP is proud to support them and looks forward to continuing to work together enhance their voice on campus.”

The AAUP has long been committed to organizing graduate employees and currently represents graduate employees at a number of public institutions, including Portland State University, Rutgers, and the University of Rhode Island, where grads have achieved significant gains through collective bargaining. The recent NLRB decision, which expands opportunities for collective bargaining for graduate workers at private institutions, not only stands to improve economic and lifestyle conditions for grads but it stands to improve conditions for academic freedom and shared governance participation.

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