Princeton Graduate Students Consider Unionization

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By Erin Delmore, Correspondent

[NOTE: The video report concludes that “to form a union 30% of graduate students need to back the effort.” Unions are actually formed when a majority of the workers vote to unionize. The 30% figure represents the percentage of workers who need to agree to take a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote in the first place.]

“Graduate students, it’s sort of a misnomer in the sense that we don’t just take classes and then go home and do homework. We do actively produce novel research and that requires a lot of work,” said Akshay Mehra, vice president of Princeton’s GSG.

Princeton University’s graduate students are taking first steps toward forming a union following the lead of other schools in recent months. While there are unions on public campuses, private colleges are just catching up thanks to an August decision by the National Labor Relations Board to classify private colleges’ graduate teaching and research assistants as workers.

“Graduate students that actually work at their universities are spending basically 24 hours a day between their studies and the work they do so that they can support their studies, so they can support their families and so that they can actually spend the time in their studies,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

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