Archive Hosted by the AFL-CIO

VIDEO: Grad Students Vie for Union

February 13, 2012 By Tom Niemisto, Video Production Specialist

University of Minnesota Twin Cities graduate students are following the trend of schools around the country to form a union under the United Auto Workers.

Graduate assistants perform crucial research, serve as a resource for undergrads, and even teach courses; yet they're often left out of contract negotiations effecting 5,000 assistants. Recent attention of union rights has fueled a resurgence and now they're closer than ever to an election to establish collective bargaining on campus.


Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • Andrew says:

    February 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

    “Something people really want and are really enthusiastic about… ‘Since 1991 University of Minnesota graduate student workers have tried to organize a labor union three times.’”

    Since 1991, some graduate students have tried to organize a labor union three times and three times graduate students voted NOT to form a union. Some graduate students really want and are really enthusiastic about a union. Most are not.

    Perhaps if all graduate students were not grouped into one union, there might be more support. But the duties and expectations of graduate students from different departments and colleges vary widely. As a graduate student, I do not understand how or why we should all be categorized as a single collective unit.