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 has sent an email to our supporters regarding both the recent decision of Hopkins to cancel its contracts with ICE and the NLRB ruling regarding Graduate Student Unions at private universities. Below is the text of the email. If you would like to receive regular updates from TRU straight to your inbox, go to the “Contact Us” tab or email us at email@example.com.
Dear Fellow Graduate Workers,
After months of pressure from the Hopkins Coalition against ICE, Garland Hall Sit-In, Coalition for a Humane Hopkins, Teachers and Researchers United, and other advocacy groups on and off campus, the administration has finally decided to cancel its contracts with ICE! Although the university has not acknowledged how the efforts of students, faculty, and community activists led to this decision, we want to congratulate everyone for helping secure a more compassionate and equitable campus. We hope that this achievement will pave the way for our continued work to end the militarization of Hopkins, sexual harassment, and other abuses at and beyond the university. As we strive for recognition as the official Hopkins graduate workers union through our calls for social justice and for six years of guaranteed funding for doctoral students, this victory demonstrates what our combined influence can achieve.
At the same time, we need to address the recent verdict of the National Labor Relations Board that graduate students do not “work” for their universities. Under a proposed NLRB rule change, the federal government will deny graduate workers the right to unionize and hinder our capacity to improve our labor conditions. The current members of the NLRB refuse to recognize our contributions as teachers, researchers, conference panelists, laboratory scientists, and community builders, all of which ensure the success of our universities. TRU condemns the proposed NLRB rule and will not end its activism until graduate workers nationwide have earned the legal right to collectively bargain for contracts with their home institutions. Just as protest compelled Hopkins to end its contracts with ICE, so too can sustained pressure enable us to bypass the NLRB and demand that the administration offer us a seat at the negotiating table.
We must stand together against the NLRB decision and have the opportunity to comment on its proposed rule change for the next sixty days. We urge you to send your own response to the NLRB at this hyperlink: https://act.seiu.org/onlineactions/2KiN7tevZ06OiP0KD5FR7Q2. We also encourage you to show your solidarity with your fellow graduate students by signing a TRU-SEIU Local 500 union card, which you can acquire from any member of the TRU organizing committee or through the TRU email address. Finally, as we continue to connect departments across Homewood and the School of Medicine, we invite you to help us build our grassroots membership so we can pursue our shared objectives. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your continued support, and we promise to fight with you both as students and as workers.
Teachers and Researchers United