Coalition of Graduate Workers

Grads Make Mizzou Work!

A Resolution Setting Forth Policies on the Election of Representatives. — March 14, 2018

A Resolution Setting Forth Policies on the Election of Representatives.

Resolution 1718-07

A Resolution Setting Forth Policies on the Election of Representatives.

  • To make for better communication between the Representative Assembly, Coordinating Committee, and individual departments and programs, the term of a department representative shall be recognized by the Representative Assembly from August 1st to July 31st, though departments and programs may elect representatives on their own schedules and terms.
    • Departments or programs shall communicate the election of new representatives to the Head Representative and Co-Chairs in a timely fashion.
    • Should departments or programs be divided or consolidated, the Representative Assembly will recognize the number of Representatives the department or program is eligible for on August 1st of the academic year in question.
  • Represented units are encouraged to nominate representatives for the following academic year in the spring in order to coordinate new graduate student orientation and outreach in the fall.
  • Given the natural course of a graduate student employee’s academic career, term limits for representatives are not necessary.


The Rules Committee.


Reference Material:

Bylaws Article VI.2

Section 2        Composition and Requirements

  1. All Representatives must be dues-paying members within the bargaining unit.
  2. Each Department or Program with workers within the bargaining unit will have the right to nominate one Representative to the Representative Assembly.
  3. Represented units have the right to determine procedure for nominations, provided it accords to one person, one vote, and ensures that all Representatives have a plurality of voted support of dues paying members within their represented unit.
  4. Disputed representation may be appealed to the Representative Assembly, which will render a decision by majority vote. The disputed Representative, if already sitting, will not be eligible to vote.
  5. If it is unclear whether a Department or Program has the right to nominate a Representative, it will be deliberated and ruled upon by vote by the Representative Assembly.
A Policy Establishing Guidelines for Membership Participation in Working Groups and Committees. — February 14, 2018

A Policy Establishing Guidelines for Membership Participation in Working Groups and Committees.

Resolution 1718-06

A Policy Establishing Guidelines for Membership Participation in Working Groups and Committees

The following shall apply henceforth to the standing orders of the Representative Assembly:

  • Representatives are strongly encouraged to join and participate in working groups and committees, but there is no set requirement for joining them.
  • The Head Representative shall recruit for additional membership for working groups and committees. Solicitation for membership in committees and working groups shall be a standing item on the General Membership Assembly agenda.

A list of best practices for coordinators of working groups and ad-hoc committees shall be generated and updated as necessary by the Rules Committee.


The Rules Committee.


A Policy Establishing Rules for Observer Status at Representative Assembly Meetings. —

A Policy Establishing Rules for Observer Status at Representative Assembly Meetings.

Resolution 1718-05

A Policy Establishing Rules for Observer Status at Representative Assembly Meetings.

The following rules shall apply to the Representative Assembly meetings:

  • All general assembly members in good standing are granted automatic non-speaking observer status at representative assembly meetings.
  • In keeping with CGW’s commitment to supporting graduate student families, all children and dependents of General Assembly members in good standing shall be granted automatic non-speaking observer status.
  • MNEA and NEA staff shall be granted automatic observer status.
  • Individual representatives may use their annual block to revoke the observer status of one individual observer for a single meeting.
  • Non-speaking observers may be granted speaking status at the discretion of the Head Representative.
  • Observers are not allowed to participate in the consensus decision-making process.
  • Individuals granted observer status may have this observer status revoked, for a period of time determined by the body, on consensus of the RA.


The Rules Committee.


General Membership Meeting, 2/17/18 — February 3, 2018

General Membership Meeting, 2/17/18

CGW will hold a General Membership Meeting on February 17th, 2018, at 10 AM in Swallow Hall 101. The meeting is scheduled to last until 11:30 AM. The agenda can be found here.

Of note, at this meeting we have requested that a representative from our attorneys appear to answer questions from our members about our lawsuit against the university. Richard von Glahn from our partners at Missouri Jobs with Justice will be there to tell us about the CLEAN and Raise Up Missouri campaigns. Finally, we will plan our spring campaign of actions leading up to our court hearing on April 20th.

As always, we will have breakfast before the meeting!

We are committed to making our meetings as open and accessible as possible. Children are welcome. Please let us know if you have any dietary or accessibly needs that we can meet.

Please contacts us ( with your questions. We look forward to seeing you!

In solidarity,

Simona Simkins and Eric Scott


A Resolution for the Local to Sign the “Real Recourse” Petition. — November 8, 2017

A Resolution for the Local to Sign the “Real Recourse” Petition.

Resolution #1718-04

A Resolution for the Local to Sign the “Real Recourse” Petition.


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



Appendix A:

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.


Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly — March 1, 2017

Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly


CGW Logo no bg.png

Internal Policy Proposal #1617-02:

Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly.

The Standing Orders of the Representative Assembly shall proceed according to Modified Consensus, as described below, except where superseded by the Bylaws of the local or or by policy enacted by the Representative Assembly:

Consensus shall mean that all are in agreement with a proposal, minus up to 3 people dissenting.

Proposal Steps

  1. Proposal is introduced by facilitator, who may also ask the creator(s) of the proposal to present and provide background and context to the group.
  2. The facilitator shall test for initial consensus. This may include questions and answers, but not modifications to the proposal.  If everyone is in agreement with the proposal as written, it passes.  
  3. If there is no initial consensus, the facilitator shall lead discussion regarding any unresolved concern. They shall then hear commentary from members of the Assembly one at a time based on the order in which the speaker asked to be recognized. This shall avoid any back and forth, and the facilitator shall call on people not yet heard, giving everyone a chance to speak before allowing someone to speak twice on a concern or topic.

    1. To prevent one or two voices from dominating the discussion, all members of the Assembly shall have the opportunity to speak once before allowing anyone to speak a second time.  
    2. If a member of the Assembly has a question about clarifying a previous statement, the facilitator may move them to the front of the speaking order. In order to clearly differentiate between requests to speak about a concern and questions about previous, the facilitator will provide a different signal for each.
  4. Discussion and Amendments – The proposal will be displayed for all to see (for example, on the projector at the front of the room) and will be amended by the facilitator as directed by the Assembly.  Amendments to the proposal may be made preliminarily when the concern is raised, or formulated at the end of discussion. Once a concern is resolved, the facilitator may ask for consensus, and if no further concerns are raised, the proposal passes.
  5. If consensus is not reached, points 3 and 4 above are repeated with each individual concern until all are resolved, or the individual holding the concern consents to allow the proposal to go through.
  6. Temperature checks – The facilitator may test for a sense of where the RA stands on a particular question, to be answered through hand gestures of those present.

    1. For example, a thumbs up may mean yes, a thumbs down may mean no, and a sideways thumb may mean neutral (which does still indicate readiness to consent).
    2. Anyone in the group may call for a temperature check at any time, though it is at the discretion of the facilitator to do so. The note taker shall note results of the check only in general terms.
    3. In consensus procedure, it is common to have silent or near silent cues for group reaction, such as lightly snapping one’s fingers when one approves of something that has been said.
  7. Standing Aside – Because modified consensus procedure does not require total agreement of every member of the Assembly, some members may disagree with a proposal. When a member disagrees with a proposal, but does not feel strongly enough about its passage to “block” it (as defined in the next item), they shall be considered to be “standing aside.”
  8. Blocking – A member shall be considered “blocking” if they continue to reject a proposal when all other members’ concerns have been resolved. In a consensus decision-making process, blocking is the equivalent of a veto and should be considered only as a last resort when a proposal is seen as dangerous to the core mission and functioning of the union. Its use should be rare and the emphasis of discussion on finding ways to work together. As such, any member of the Assembly may block a proposal once per academic year.
  9. Return to Sender – As an alternative to blocking, a proposal can be sent back to the entity that submitted it to the agenda. This process shall be the same as outlined in steps 3 and 4 for amending the proposal, except the amendment to return to sender will end further amendments.
  10. Reflexive Practice – Meetings shall conclude with time allotted for members of the Assembly to discuss what went well, and proposals for improvements at future meetings.


Further Background:




For immediate release
August 23, 2016
Press Contact: Joseph Moore (732) 948-5718

Today the National Labor Relations Board issued a 3-1 decision overturning the partisan Bush-era Brown decision, which stripped graduate student employees at private universities of their right to organize into a union of their choice, and their right to bargain collectively.

In their decision, the National Labor Relations Board decided that student assistants are statutory employees, forcefully stating that “Statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship,” and further rejecting that a student relationship has bearing upon employee rights.

“This is a victory for graduate student employees across the United States, and for all working Americans within the labor movement,” said Connor Lewis, co-chair of the Coalition of Graduate Workers. “We congratulate organizing campaigns at private universities across the United States on their hard work to improve the lives of graduate student employees.”

“In light of this ironclad, national precedent in favor of graduate student employee organizing, we call on the University of Missouri to end their legal battle to block graduate student employee unionization,” said Eric Scott, fellow co-chair of the Coalition. “Recognizing the fair and democratic results of April 2016’s representation election and avoiding further waste of public funds is the right thing to do, and we trust the University will make the right decision.”


The Coalition of Graduate Workers is an affiliate of the Missouri National Education Association, the leading union for Missouri educators, and represents the 2,700 graduate employees at the University of Missouri.



On Sunday, the Columbia Tribune published a story regarding two married faculty in the Theater Department who were terminated without notice at the close of the spring semester, in accordance with the administration’s mandate for 5% cutbacks on a College and Division level. In one day, their entire household income was eliminated.

It is clear that the University faces significant budgetary problems that are beyond the ability of current resources to absorb: a reality made worse by partisan attacks on the University’s budget and autonomy. However, it has become a troubling pattern that those that suffer from cuts are inevitably those that are the most vulnerable, particularly non-tenure track faculty, staff, and graduate student employees. Sunday’s story was a visceral reminder of the human toll of slashed budgets.

Passing the pain of austerity to the most vulnerable employees of the University while administrators allocate University resources toward retreats at luxury hotels and resorts, as reported by the Columbia Tribune, is unacceptable and indefensible. Firing support staff while former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin continues to collect a substantial salary for vague and undefined job duties, as reported by both the Columbia Tribune and Columbia Missourian, is unacceptable and indefensible. Eliminating non-tenure track faculty positions while administrative pay continues to rise and administrators face few or no cuts, as reported Sunday by the Columbia Tribune, is unacceptable and indefensible.

Accordingly, the Coalition of Graduate Workers will begin building an advocacy campaign on behalf of the staff, non-tenure track faculty, and graduate student employees who are disproportionately impacted by budget cuts.

Coordinating Committee
Coalition of Graduate Workers

General Membership Assembly Notice — April 23, 2016

General Membership Assembly Notice

The Coalition of Graduate Workers will be holding its first General Membership Assembly Meeting on Saturday, May 7th, at 12:00 PM in Tate 102.

All graduate student employees are encouraged to attend. Voting is reserved to dues-paying members.

Meeting agenda and supplementary materials are linked as follows.

Connor Lewis
Co-Chair, CGW


CGW: A Better Mizzou — April 15, 2016