Are other private universities trying to Unionize?
Yes! Graduate students are forming unions at Yale, Cornell, University of Chicago and other campuses this year. Harvard and Columbia have already held their elections!
Why have I received emails with different information about DGSU?
You have probably received emails from President Brodhead and Dean McClain stating that unionization may not be good for students or the university. Authority figures often provide selected information that favors their desires and goals, but may not be in your best interest. It is very interesting that the complaints made about DGSU are the same complaints made about pro-union people at Harvard and Columbia. Did you know that both Columbia and Duke are using the same law firm to fight unionization?
There is published research that discusses the unionization of graduate students. Additionally, we have explained why unionization is good for students and answered many questions at dukegradunion.org. We encourage you to read published research, attend the information session, and ask questions of students who are in favor of the union.
Who will run the Duke Graduate Student Union? What is SEIU?
DGSU will be run by graduate students. Graduate students will decide the contents of the contract and will negotiate the contract with the university administration. SEIU is a national organization that helps form and run unions across the world. Graduate students chose SEIU to help us because they helped the non-tenured faculty union at Duke and are committed to unionization attempts in the south. SEIU will provide us the needed capabilities and experience to negotiate a contract with Duke’s administration.
Will the graduate student union replace student organizations like GPSC or JOYTI or DCSSA?
No! Since these organizations do not negotiate our salary, workplace protections, and benefits, the union will have a completely different function. DGSU can collaborate with these organizations by elevating common concerns with university officials at the bargaining table.
Why bother to form union if we already have a lot of communication channels on campus?
The administration is not obligated to bargain with student organizations like GPSC or DCSSA, and has ignored many of their requests. Student groups are also reliant on funding from the school, making it difficult to raise certain issues. Our union would be funded and operated independently from the school, and granted federally-protected rights to negotiate with the administration over employment conditions. With this independence and power, our union has the ability to create better living conditions for graduate students.
What is the cost of forming a union, do I have to pay money?
To form a union has costs associated with negotiating a contract and supporting graduate students who need help. This cost is normally paid for by workers monthly as dues. If the union is able to negotiate a salary increase, dental insurance, or other benefits, hopefully you will want to support the union so that it can keep working for all of us. You will not be asked to pay any dues until a contract has been negotiated.
Can the school punish me if I am in support of the union?
NO! The right to engage in union activity and collective bargaining is protected under federal law. It is unlawful for any university agent to intimidate or threaten student employees for supporting the union, interrogate students about union sentiments, engage in surveillance of union activity, or in any way interfere or restrain student employees in their right to organize. If you feel that anyone is intimidating you for talking about or supporting the union please immediately contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact the NLRB.