Teachers and Researchers United at Johns Hopkins University stands in solidarity with students, staff, and faculty at Jamia Milia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University facing police brutality in the wake of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Students, staff, and faculty have every right to protest the rising tide of Islamophobic nationalism in India, and there is absolutely no justification for the horrific violence police forces deployed against them. As an organization concerned with the rights of students to protest and curbing the power of police repression, particularly on campuses, TRU condemns in the strongest possible terms the police actions on these campuses as well as the government officials lending support to these actions. We urge international support and solidarity with students, staff, and faculty at Jamia Milia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University.
We encourage all of our members to sign the following petition to express support. The bravery and sacrifice of these protestors cannot and will not be forgotten as their struggle continues. Physical and mental brutality is never appropriate or okay, and we back all those who fight against it.
Content warning on the petition: descriptions of police violence/sexual violence
This Thursday, we are holding a Work-In to publicize our labor as graduate students and to show our opposition to the proposed NLRB rule change denying our status as workers. Come join us on Thursday, December 12 to grade essays and exams, conduct research, write grants, or perform any other work connected to your roles as Teaching or Research Assistants. If you cannot attend the event in-person, we encourage you to contact the Organizing Committee so you can participate remotely over Skype. Or, take a picture of yourself in your workspace, tag us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/teachersandresearchersunited) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/TRUhopkins) with the hashtag #WeAreWorkers. Ask if your lab can showcase its contributions to the university!
Work-In Event Details:
• Date/Time: Thursday, December 12, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
• Location: Eisenhower Library, M-Level | Homewood Campus
• Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2645492598870422/
Please feel free to attend any part of the event depending on your schedule, and make sure to invite anyone you know who wants to learn more about TRU. We will have copies of our NLRB petition to sign (https://forms.gle/4iuye6WSYePe7bzi8) as well as buttons and union cards for graduate students who want to demonstrate their support.
Below you can find pdf posters which you can print out and hang to publicize the event. If you have any questions, we welcome you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today the Johns Hopkins News-Letter published a feature about the ongoing struggle to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from de-classifying graduate students as workers. Since 2016, graduate students at private universities have been classified as employees of their institutions under the National Labor Relations Act. This means we are entitled to certain protections under Federal law, including the right to organize or discuss working conditions without threat of retaliation. A rule change proposed in September of this year seeks to remove these essential protections.
We are fighting this proposed rule change through multiple avenues:
1. By encouraging supporters to sign our petition: https://forms.gle/didt5EkiqJFCN1cf6
2. By encouraging supporters to submit an individual comment to the NLRB: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/09/23/2019-20510/jurisdiction-nonemployee-status-of-university-and-college-students-working-in-connection-with-their
3. By participating in solidarity actions with other grad unions at the NLRB offices in Washington, D.C.: http://trujhu.org/index.php/2019/11/16/national-nlrb-action/
and 4. By holding a Work-In at the Eisenhower Library, M-Level, on Thursday December 12, 8AM-3PM. Check out our Facebook event (https://www.facebook.com/events/2645492598870422/) and stay tuned for more details to come.
The Hopkins News-Letter interviewed two graduate students active in TRU about their thoughts on the ongoing struggle with the NLRB and about organizing on the Hopkins campus. You can read more in the article at the link below.
On Thursday TRU participated in a national day of action at the offices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in D.C. Alongside other graduate unions including groups from Georgetown, American, Duke, and George Washington Universities, we delivered over 20,000 comments to the NLRB affirming that We Are Workers! This event was covered by multiple media organizations including Newsweek:
In addition, we spoke with elected officials, including Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Mark Pocan. Representative Pocan has just introduced legislation to the House that would enshrine in law the rights of grads at private universities to unionize. If passed, this bill would stop the NLRB’s move to strip worker status from graduate students. For more information on this, see Representative Pocan’s press release below. This bill has been endorsed by SEIU – the larger union of which TRU is a part of SEIU Local 500.
The NLRB has extended the time period for which they are accepting comments – all the way to December 30th! If you haven’t signed on to TRU’s petition yet, we encourage you to do so. The Hopkins Graduate Representative Organization has also voted and signed on to the petition.
TRU stands in solidarity with the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS). Recently, the Deans of KSAS announced the cancellation of graduate teaching fellowships for this program. This was done without consulting WGS-affiliated faculty and without consideration of the current or former Teaching Fellows. Many graduate students depend on these fellowships for funding, and graduate teaching labor comprises the vast majority of WGS classes taught on campus.
Here’s a letter from former and current WGS fellows explaining the details: https://wgsjhu.home.blog/2019/11/07/women-gender-and-sexuality-studies-teaching-fellowships-an-open-letter-to-the-deans-of-johns-hopkins-university/
Last night, members of TRU attended a town hall with Vice Dean for Graduate Education and Centers and Programs (what a mouthful) Matthew Roller. We received very unsatisfactory answers to our questions. We still don’t know where the money they are taking away from WGS would go to. We don’t know why WGS has been singled out form all programs that offer their own fellowships. We don’t know why Hopkins feels it is necessary to go after a program which amplifies marginalized voices on campus. We also still don’t know why WGS isn’t an independent and fully supported department, as it is at many peer institutions.
The town hall was covered by the Hopkins News-Letter:
We also encourage folks to continue to sign the following petition to show support: https://www.change.org/p/the-deans-and-president-of-johns-hopkins-university-saving-women-gender-and-sexuality-studies-scholarship-at-johns-hopkins
In addition, we are pleased to report the results of the strategy vote from the online votes and from the general body meeting last night. After counting the votes, the union has chosen to move forward with a voluntary recognition campaign in which we push for a contract. Thanks so much to all of you for voting! Stay tuned for updates and plans for future actions!