Statement on Graduate Student Worker Unionization

We, the undersigned University of Chicago faculty, support the right of graduate student workers to hold an election on forming a union, without obstruction or attempts to delay the process from the University’s administration. We deplore recent communications from the University’s leadership, which have been misleading, alarmist, incomplete, and one-sided. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that teaching and research assistants at private universities are employees under federal labor law. That ruling is fully in line with our experience of the importance of graduate student labor. We reject attempts to portray graduate student workers as anything less than essential to the functioning of the University of Chicago. We also believe that the disparagement of graduate student labor as a legal tactic is particularly antithetical to the values of our institution.

We thank the graduate students, past and present, whose work has helped make ours possible, and call on our colleagues and our administration to respect their right to organize and bargain collectively through whatever representative body they choose.

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