NLRB Rules In Favor of Graduate Student Unionization
Written by Ross Chapman
On Tuesday morning, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Graduate Workers of Columbia University. The union, represented by UAW 2110 (the same group responsible for Barnard Contingent Faculty, among others), now has no legal barriers between themselves and the University which can delay the negotiating process.
Columbia University had previously appealed to NLRB on multiple grounds. While they challenged the union’s ability to unionize in the first place (which was controversially confirmed by the board in August), they also alleged that the union had engaged in electioneering, improperly pressuring voters by keeping surveillance, stationing union members near polling places, and not requiring consistent voter identification. However, the board ruled twofold against the University. First, they struck down several of the University’s individual claims about electioneering. For example, for a claim about stationed union members, interviews revealed that the mere presence of union members at tables in front of Earl Hall was not sufficiently deleterious to the election process. On the second point, the NLRB determined that the University failed to prove that its objections would have been enough to swing the nearly 1,000 vote victory earned by the union.
On Thursday afternoon, GWC-UAW 2110 took to in front of Low Library to demand action from the University. In its negotiations with BCF, union members felt that Columbia intentionally dragged its feet in order to prevent the union from performing effectively. Thursday’s protest involved representatives standing all around Low Library, holding a roll of paper showing the names of signatories requesting immediate action from the University. It also featured a symbolic “negotiating table,” a holding table at the base of Low Steps. The demonstration lasted approximately an hour, and ended with an emphatic, “We’ll be back!”
Protest image via Bwog