A Resolution for the Local to Sign the “Real Recourse” Petition.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY HERE GATHERED THAT:
WHEREAS, A number of the Coalition of Graduate Workers’ fellow graduate employee union locals have created petition demanding university administrations recognize and bargain with their graduate bodies’ elected exclusive representatives; and
WHEREAS, This petition specifically notes that union grievance procedures would provide a “real recourse” for students who have been sexually harassed or assaulted during the course of their graduate programs; and
WHEREAS, Our local continues to be unrecognized by the University of Missouri System, despite the overwhelming support shown for CGW in the union representation election of April 2016, leaving us in a similar position to our fellow locals circulating this petition; and
WHEREAS, Issues of gender equality, protection from sexual harassment and assault, and the need to secure a grievance procedure that fairly represents the interests of the employee outside of institutional bias are just as pertinent to our constituents as they are for our fellow locals; and
WHEREAS, Among the goals of our local are the principles of Collective Representation and Bargaining, Community and Solidarity, and Social Justice, all of which are advanced by this cause; THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, By a vote of the Representative Assembly here gathered that the Coalition of Graduate Workers will be a signatory to the “Real Recourse” petition, whose text is provided in Appendix A; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Outreach Officer shall draft a statement, to be approved by the Coordinating Committee, that shall affirm our local’s commitment to gender equity and fair representation and renew our demand for recognition and bargaining from the University of Missouri System Administration.
Simona Perales Simkins, Co-Chair
Eric Scott, Co-chair.
Zach Rubin, Head Representative
APPROVED BY THE REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017.
Text of the “Real Recourse” Petition
To: President Joseph Aoun (Northeastern), Lee Bollinger (Columbia), Robert Brown (Boston University), Drew Faust (Harvard), William Leahy (Boston College), Jo Ann Rooney (Loyola University Chicago)
From: [Your Name]
Dear President Joseph Aoun, President Lee Bollinger, President Robert Brown, President Drew Faust, President William Leahy, President Jo Ann Rooney, and any other administrators opposing graduate worker unionization:
A recent American Association of Universities (AAU) study shows that nearly half of women experience some form of sexual harassment or assault during their graduate programs. Trans and gender non-conforming people experience harassment at even higher frequencies. While some of these cases make national headlines, most do not. Unfortunately, universities’ existing mechanisms for addressing these cases have too often failed to achieve justice and will likely become even weaker under the Trump/Devos administration.
Thousands of graduate research and teaching assistants are currently organizing at your universities, in part because a contractual union grievance procedure can establish a system where those who have been assaulted and/or harassed have a better chance of achieving justice. Through the grievance procedure, individuals could have the right to take an unresolved sexual harassment dispute to a neutral arbitrator rather than a university administrator, freeing them from having to fight for justice amid potential institutional bias or find the resources to hire a lawyer and go through the courts.
While half a dozen private university administrations, including Cornell, NYU and The New School, have agreed to respect democratic unionization votes and bargain with RAs and TAs, a small number of university administrators have refused. At Columbia, for example, the administration refuses to bargain despite an overwhelming 72% vote in favor of unionization. The ongoing opposition to unionization by some academic administrators not only blocks democracy, but also blocks the ability of RAs and TAs to negotiate stronger protections against sexual harassment, a major barrier to true gender equity in our universities and a major reason RAs and TAs organized for unionization.
As we mark the one year anniversary of Trump’s election to the presidency, we urge you to stand with your students and workers by respecting the democratic process, bargaining with their chosen unions and helping to advance gender equity in our universities.