Coalition of Graduate Workers

Grads Make Mizzou Work!

CGW Statement on The Hiring of Dr. Alexander Cartwright — May 24, 2017

CGW Statement on The Hiring of Dr. Alexander Cartwright

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 24, 2017

For more information contact Joseph Moore (732-948-5718 / moorjo86@gmail.com)

Columbia, Missouri – The Coalition of Graduate Workers (CGW), as the elected exclusive representative of the University of Missouri’s approximately 2,700 graduate employees, looks forward to working productively with newly-appointed Chancellor Dr. Alexander Cartwright on issues surrounding graduate student employment and well-being at Mizzou.

In his previous role, Dr. Cartwright served as provost and executive vice chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), where graduate student employees system-wide are unionized under the Communication Workers of America Local 1104 – Graduate Student Employee Union. SUNY recognized its graduate student employees’ union in 1992 and has since successfully negotiated contracts securing basic protections for graduate workers, including guaranteed compensation levels, health insurance, grievance procedures, and workplace health and safety provisions.

It is our sincere hope that Dr. Cartwright will bring this enlightened and constructive approach to graduate student employee labor rights with him to Mizzou. Years of unnecessary conflict have cost University leadership the goodwill of their employees – now is the time for a fresh start. It is clear to us and many campus constituencies that long-term stability and institutional health can only be achieved by good faith bargaining between graduate employees and administration.

Signed,

Coordinating Committee, Coalition of Graduate Workers

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The Coalition of Graduate Workers (CGW) represents the 2,700 graduate employees of the University of Missouri, Columbia. CGW is an affiliate of the Missouri National Education Association.

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CGW/FGR Statement on Review Commission Appointees — June 29, 2016

CGW/FGR Statement on Review Commission Appointees

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 29, 2016

Press Contacts
CGW: Joseph Moore, (732) 948-5718
FGR: Anahita Zare, (407) 697-3693

On Wednesday, Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson announced his hand-picked appointees to the University of Missouri Independent Review Commission, finalizing the commission’s composition. This announcement follows Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard’s appointments, which included former Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence, conservative pundit Renee Hulshof (wife of former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof), and multiple appointees with deep financial and political ties to the Missouri Republican Party, Ron Richard, and Kurt Schaefer’s own political campaigns.

Today’s appointments include Jeanne Sinquefield, wife of Republican megadonor and far-right conservative billionaire Rex Sinquefield. Sinquefield’s extreme political agenda has aggressively pushed anti-worker initiatives and attacks on public educational institutions across the state. Furthermore, Sinquefield bankrolls Republican candidates across Missouri, including Kurt Schaefer, whose bullying and scorched earth political tactics have helped create the very crisis from which he now seeks to “save” the University of Missouri System.

These partisan appointees make the Commission’s aim clear: to reshape the University of Missouri in the image of extremists in the Missouri Legislature, as enacted by political operatives and megadonors whose ties to the Missouri Republican Party and special interests run deeper than their commitment to providing Missourians with high quality and affordable higher education. Already Republican leadership has warned that the commission’s recommendations must be followed, or else the University will face severe cuts to its appropriations. The implication is clear: the review will not seek to support an independent institution founded on freedom of inquiry and a public, land-grant mission. It will instead demand a University that bows to the whims of the Republican supermajority.

The Coalition of Graduate Workers and the Forum on Graduate Rights condemn the Republican supermajority’s political threats against the University of Missouri, particularly the threat to slash funding if their agenda is not enacted, and jointly call on all Missourians who support and love the University of Missouri to oppose these threats. Missouri families and working Missourians deserve access to world-class and affordable higher education. Although the Commission claims to serve this goal, in reality, it will only bludgeon our University into following a partisan agenda.

Signed,

Coordinating Committee, Coalition of Graduate Workers

Steering Committee, Forum on Graduate Rights

The Coalition of Graduate Workers is a union local affiliated with the Missouri National Education Association. It represents 2,700 graduate student employees at the University of Missouri flagship campus.

The Forum on Graduate Rights is a grassroots movement founded to advocate for the rights of graduate and professional students at the University of Missouri.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI REJECTS UNION RECOGNITION — May 6, 2016

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI REJECTS UNION RECOGNITION

NEWS RELEASE
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI REJECTS UNION RECOGNITION
From the Coalition of Graduate Workers

For more information: chairs@cgwmissouri.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6th, 2016

Today, the Coalition of Graduate Workers received formal notice from the University of Missouri System via their retained attorney that they have chosen to reject recognition of the April 18th and 19th representation election results. Accordingly, we will turn to the courts to uphold our constitutional right to organize and collectively bargain.

We are disappointed that the University of Missouri System demonstrated yet another failure of leadership. By forcing an expensive court battle, rather than exercising their power to voluntarily recognize the representation election’s results, the Curators and University System administrators have failed to responsibly steward the public institution with which they have been entrusted. Missourians expect and deserve better.

We will continue to offer the University of Missouri System the opportunity, whenever possible, to do the right thing through choosing to work with graduate student employees in partnership. It is our sincere hope that they will do so, instead of dragging the University of Missouri into another year of turmoil.

The Coalition of Graduate Workers is a union local affiliated to the Missouri National Education Association and the National Education Association. It is the exclusive representative of the 2,800 graduate student employees at the University of Missouri.
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GRAD WORKERS WIN ELECTION — April 19, 2016

GRAD WORKERS WIN ELECTION

NEWS RELEASE
CGW WINS UNION REPRESENTATION ELECTION
From the Coalition of Graduate Workers

For more information:
organizemizzou@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19th, 2016

We are gratified and humbled by the results of Monday and Tuesday’s representative election, in which approximately 84% of votes were cast in favor of the Coalition of Graduate Workers acting as the exclusive representative of graduate student employees for the purpose of collective bargaining.

This result is in spite of eleventh hour voter intimidation by the University of Missouri administration, and it unequivocally demonstrates that graduate student employees will not accept the status quo. It is also the culmination of an academic year of tireless organizing during which the graduate student employees of the University of Missouri have provided inspiration to universities across the United States. If the University of Missouri is to move forward, it will be due in no small part to the resolute desire of graduate students to make the University of Missouri a better institution of higher education.

The recent election, conducted by a neutral third party, fulfilled state and federal best practices for a representation election, and further fulfilled all of the criteria for the high standards of American democratic self-determination. Thus, we view the results as a clear mandate in favor of graduate student employee collective bargaining, and we call for the administration of the University of Missouri to duly recognize these democratic results.

We look forward to building a broadly representative bargaining team, and to beginning contract negotiations with the University.

The Coalition of Graduate Workers is a union local affiliated to the Missouri National Education Association and the National Education Association. It is the exclusive representative of the 2,800 graduate student employees at the University of Missouri.

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GRADUATE WORKERS RESPOND TO INTERIM CHANCELLOR FOLEY — April 15, 2016

GRADUATE WORKERS RESPOND TO INTERIM CHANCELLOR FOLEY

NEWS RELEASE
GRADUATE WORKERS RESPOND TO INTERIM CHANCELLOR FOLEY
From the Coalition of Graduate Workers

For more information:
organizemizzou@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2016

The Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers is surprised by Interim Chancellor Hank Foley’s recent comments to The Columbia Tribune. In an interview, Foley referred to a free and fair representation election as a “mock election,” referred to graduate student employees as “kids,” and once again inaccurately claimed that he was unaware that an election would occur.

These comments are in addition to the Chancellor’s mass e-mail communication one week ago, which threatened “ramifications” and an anti-union “education campaign” if graduate student employees exercised their constitutionally protected rights as residents of the state of Missouri. Although Foley promised a clarifying e-mail this week, no such communication was sent.

Referring to a democratic and constitutionally guaranteed election as a “mock election” is inaccurate and inappropriate. Although we understand that the University is unwilling to recognize the results of the election at this time, we emphasize that this is a choice the University is making. The election itself will be run according to state and federal best practices. Moreover, referring to it as a “mock election” impugns the professionalism, integrity, and civic engagement of the Columbia League of Women Voters, who will operate the polls.

We are particularly disappointed that Hank Foley referred to Mizzou’s 2,800 graduate student employees as “kids.” This is a patronizing and troubling indication of the University’s attitude toward a population with an average age of over 30, many of whom have families and children of their own. Graduate student employees are educators, researchers, and dedicated professionals, and University leadership owes them a basic level of respect.

Finally, the claim that the election is a “surprise” is incorrect, or else indicates a troubling reporting failure within University administration. Meetings between graduate workers representing CGW and University administrators occurred on five occasions, the first occurring on December 21st. The intent to hold an election despite the University’s decision to force legal action was clearly and explicitly communicated to Vice President for Human Resources Kelley Stuck, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Erik Smetana, and representatives from the University of Missouri System Office of General Counsel. Moreover, this specific intent was also clearly and explicitly communicated to campus administration. It is a worrying testament to the state of University governance if this information was not conveyed to Interim Chancellor Foley.

The Coalition of Graduate Workers has consistently maintained its desire to work with administration toward a better University; indeed, our notice communicating the details of the upcoming election expressed that “we remain ever-hopeful to forge a cooperative relationship with administration,” and further offered the administration the right to send election observers. To date, the administration has not offered any response to our notice. It is frustrating and unfortunate that upper administration has met our show of good faith with misinformation, intimidation, and disrespect.

We believe that these actions are further proof that graduate student employees must work together to represent their own interests, and we urge graduate student employees to vote “Yes” on April 18th and 19th.

Coordinating Committee
Coalition of Graduate Workers

The Coalition of Graduate Workers is a union local affiliated to the Missouri National Education Association and the National Education Association.

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