Fact-checking the Duke FAQ website

duke-grad-student-page-corrected

Introduction:

As graduate students, we’re trained to look for inaccuracies and correct biased information when we grade our students’ papers and conduct our own research. Sometimes we even have to evaluate what our colleagues publish. So when we saw the administration’s new website on unionization, we felt compelled to do just that: review it and make sure it provides unbiased and accurate information. … Read more

Election update

Dear Colleagues,

We wanted to let you know that Duke requested a five-day extension on the union election in order to gather further information on eligible voters. The NLRB granted this request, which means the new dates for our election are:

Ballots will be mailed on Friday, February 3rd
Ballots must be received by Friday, February 24th

Also, this upcoming Tuesday (the 24th) we’re having a social at the FCIEMAS 3rd floor atrium from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Anyone who wants to celebrate the upcoming union election, ask questions about the union, or get more information is more than welcome!

Sincerely,

Brad Dubik (Marine Science and Conservation) and Patricia Bass (Art, Art History and Visual Studies)

on behalf of the Duke Graduate Student Union

We have election dates!

We’re writing to give you an important update on the status of our union election. After months of the Duke administration and their lawyers trying to block our vote, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided today that we have the right to form a union!We are pleased to announce the dates for our union election with the NLRB. The NLRB will send mail-in ballots to your home address on January 31st and will count them at their offices in Winston-Salem on February 21st. In this upcoming union election, the eligible participants are PhD students who provide instructional or research services. You will hear from us again with more details in the coming weeks.

To commit to vote yes, we ask that you sign our Vote Yes letter today.

The Duke Graduate Students Union remains committed to bettering the conditions of all graduate student workers at Duke University, whether they are eligible for this particular union or not. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We are eager to win our union and work together to improve working and learning conditions at Duke!

5 Reasons we are forming a union with SEIU

Here’s the top 5 reasons why we think uniting with nearly 2 million SEIU members, including 120,000 who work in higher ed, will help improve our work at Duke and build a better future for all.

  1. SEIU is a powerful, growing union.

Grad students are the glue that binds our university together, but too often we are overlooked. A union is a way to be heard. With nearly 2 million members and faculty and graduate worker union campaigns on dozens of campuses from coast to coast — forming a union with SEIU is the best way to win the respect we deserve and build collective power for change in higher education.

  1. Uniting with the faculty union movement will supercharge our strength.

More than 15,000 university faculty have joined SEIU since 2013, including the non-tenure track faculty at Duke. The momentum on our campus and across the nation is fueled by the work of faculty and grad students who are united in SEIU. Grad students stood with faculty—and now faculty are standing with us as we form our union..

Our colleges and universities are breaking their promise to America by becoming a luxury for the wealthy instead of a pathway to the American Dream. Students spend their entire lives trying to pay off debt, yet too many professors are paid so little that they qualify for food stamps–all while top administrators pay themselves millions and politicians starve public colleges of funding. Graduate students should stand alongside faculty and other SEIU members to restore the promise of higher education’s commitment to quality, accessible higher education that graduates students without debt, pays educators a living wage, and generates more opportunities for all of our communities.

  1. SEIU is a member driven, results oriented union.

Graduate students who form unions report that they often have more security and control over the terms of their work, teaching and research. SEIU members and faculty at Duke have told us that they have been impressed with the focus and energy brought toward their union campaign. Faculty have won well over 90 percent of their union elections with SEIU Faculty Forward — an amazing accomplishment. We know that in SEIU, this will be our union. Graduate workers at Duke will elect officers, but all members can help shape a union through bargaining surveys, serving on committees, and electing officers. During the process of achieving a contract with the administration, graduate student workers will decide when the proposed contract is good enough to be ratified by a majority vote.

  1. We want to build a wider movement for, environmental, racial and economic justice with the Fight for $15.

We understand the connection between raising standards in higher ed and the need to build a wider movement for environmental, racial and economic justice. Graduate students at Duke are proud to join with the national movement to right the American dream alongside the Fight For $15. Millions of people have seen a raise in pay because people from all walks of life are united to demand fair pay and a union and together we can make sure the economy works for everyone, not just the few at the top.

  1. SEIU members are winning dramatic improvements in their first contracts.

SEIU Faculty Forward members have accomplished an amazing amount in a short time and we are excited about coming together in a union. SEIU faculty have won eye-popping improvements in wages, access to benefits and professional development in their first contracts. For example, part-time faculty organized with SEIU and won significant pay raises ranging from 15 to 30 percent.

As the fall semester comes to a close, Duke graduate student workers are forming a campaign to build support for a union, just like several other major universities like Vanderbilt, Saint Louis University, American University and Loyola University Chicago.

We need a strong, united voice in order to win and we believe the best way to improve our working conditions is by coming together with tens of thousands of faculty and millions of other workers to fix higher education and the entire economy.

Please join us. Fill out this confidential form to show your support.

Election update: December 9, 2016

Over the last week and a half, we have been in attendance at the National Labor Relations Board hearing with Proskauer Rose, a NYC-based law firm hired by the Duke administration to block our union election.

After testifying for hours about the work that we do for the university — and whether the administration actually sees it as work — the hearing is finally over.

Now, we’re waiting for the Regional Director of the NLRB to make a decision about when our election is, and how our election will be administered.

We are looking forward to getting the dates for our union election and voting YES! We will update you with next steps as soon as we know more.