AFT - American Federation of Teachers

Shortcut Navigation:
 
Email ShareThis

AFT Resolutions

OPPOSITION TO NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD RULING IN BROWN UNIVERSITY

SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS: OPPOSITION TO NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD RULING IN BROWN UNIVERSITY BARRING GRADUATE EMPLOYEES FROM ORGANIZING UNDER THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT

WHEREAS, 260,000 teaching and research assistants are currently identified by the U.S. Department of Education as part of the higher education instructional workforce; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has been a leader in organizing graduate employees, representing more than 14,000 graduate employees at 14 different universities across the country; and

WHEREAS, in 2000 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that teaching assistants, research assistants, and proctors at New York University are employees entitled to organize for collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act (Act), prompting collective bargaining campaigns in a number of private universities; and

WHEREAS, the Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania, an affiliate of AFT, has struggled over three years to gain recognition from the university to represent the graduate employees at that institution; and

WHEREAS, on July 13, 2004, the NLRB, by a 3-to-2 vote along partisan lines, overruled the NYU decision in the case of Brown University, ruling that graduate teaching and research assistants are not employees eligible to unionize under the Act; and

WHEREAS, in the words of the dissenting members of the Board, this decision is "woefully out of touch with contemporary academic reality … seeing the academic world as somehow removed from the economic realm that labor law addresses—as if there was no room in the ivory tower for a sweatshop":

RESOLVED, that the AFT pursue all possible avenues to reverse this decision and to extend the benefits of unionization to graduate employees at private universities; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT continue its efforts to organize graduate employees at public and private universities based on the guidelines set forth in the AFT publication Standards of Good Practice in the Employment of Graduate Employees. These include:

  • standards for fair compensation;
  • standards for hiring and job security;
  • standards of professional responsibility and support.

 


(2004)