Dear campus community:
Recently, you may have seen articles in the Barometer, the Gazette-Times or the Oregonian regarding the efforts of the Coalition of Graduate Employees to represent all graduate employees at OSU.
CGE has been the labor union representing most graduate employees at OSU since 1999. We negotiate collective bargaining agreements that have greatly improved the working conditions of graduate employees over the last ten years. Graduate employees now have health insurance coverage, a guaranteed tuition waiver for those working more than a few hours a week, and workload protections. Most importantly, CGE gives graduate employees a voice in their working conditions and in how university decisions are made that affect us.
CGE does not represent any undergraduates, even if they are working as paid teaching assistants (or residence hall assistants). We also do not represent any Faculty Research Assistants. Our representation is exclusively graduate employees — graduate students who receive a monthly paycheck from OSU.
But CGE doesn’t represent all graduate employees. Of the approximately 1600 graduate employees on campus, close to 800 are excluded from union representation. These excluded workers are predominantly graduate research assistants, not graduate teaching assistants.
Many of these unrepresented workers desire the benefits of contract protection: the guarantee of health insurance, the protection of a grievance process and a formal non-discrimination clause, and a say in the terms of the contract through the collective bargaining process. What CGE recently delivered to the state Employment Relations Board were several hundred cards signed by a decisive majority of these non-represented workers, authorizing CGE to be the labor union representing them.
If you’re a graduate employee on campus, you’ve no doubt seen us — probably even more than once — as we worked to gauge support and collect authorization cards. Of utmost importance to us was that all workers understood the implications of union representation. We spoke with 90 percent of them, even if it sometimes meant coming back to offices time and time again. The majority of unrepresented workers have spoken and chosen CGE as their union.
What does this mean for the rest of OSU? Graduate employees will continue to study hard and work hard. But since our working conditions are the learning conditions for the undergraduate students, protection of our rights as employees allows us to focus on providing excellent education. Protection of our rights allows us to focus on providing the quality labor that helps fuel the success of research at OSU. Protection of our rights will allow OSU to continue to grow, to attract top students and strive for excellence.
We all want OSU to be the best place to work, study and learn. All graduate employees should be treated equally. It’s about fairness.
Please support your local graduate employee who has chosen union representation and wants to be recognized as a worker in service to this university that we all call home!
President, CGE, AFT Local 6069
Ph.D. Student in
We encourage you to demonstrate your support for the valuable work that graduate employees do for OSU by calling President Ray (541 737 4133) and urging him to voluntarily recognize the choice unrepresented grad workers have have already made to be represented by CGE.