Yale seeks to deny graduate teachers right to unionise
Four months after voting to form a union in order to create a better workplace, graduate teachers from Yale University in the United States continued to be denied the right to do so with the university’s administration refusing to negotiate with them.
The American peak union body, AFL-CIO, believes the administration’s delaying tactics are an attempt to “wait until Donald Trump can seat appointees on the National Labor Relations Board who will void the votes and strip graduate workers of their rights”.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said the our union stood in solidarity with the graduate teachers at Yale, some of whom had undertaken a four-week hunger strike, in protest of the university’s refusal to negotiate.
“Our union condemns any move to silence the voice of educators who simply seek to be heard as a collective in order to ensure they receive professional working rights and conditions which ultimately underpin the quality of education they can provide.
“Like our members here in Queensland and the Northern Territory, these teachers just want to be recognised with a professional wage and job security — and have access to affordable health care and a workplace free from sexual harassment,” Mr Hayes said.
As reported in The New York Times on 9 May, “like many colleges and universities, Yale relies on graduate students and other low-paid contingent faculty members, like adjunct professors, to teach much of its coursework. Contingent faculty members make up about 70 percent of the teachers in higher education in the United States. They work entirely on contract. They are poorly paid and lack access to affordable health care, job security or a voice in their working conditions”.
Mr Hayes said that despite coming together as a collective and being given the green light to do so from the American equivalent of our Fair Work Commission, the teachers at Yale are being denied their rights by an educational institution that should value and respect its employees.
“Instead Yale is doing all it can to keep these teachers in low-paying, impermanent positions in what really is a race to the bottom for university educators," Mr Hayes said.
“While the graduate teachers at Yale are continuing their fight, it has been promising to see the outpouring of support they are receiving with thousands of other unionists and community members recently marching in solidarity with them.
“The struggle currently facing the Yale graduate teachers is one that is being replicated across the globe and a reminder that the rights and conditions that our movement has worked and sacrificed to achieve in Australia must not be taken for granted,” he said.
Mr Hayes urged IEUA-QNT members to show their solidarity with the Yale graduate teachers by signing the AFL-CIO’s International Solidarity Statement to demand that Yale Corporation and Yale University President Peter Salovey sit down and negotiate with graduate teachers.
“It’s a simple action but one that will help these teachers in their fight for justice and decent working conditions as educators,” Mr Hayes said.
For more on the fight to secure a union for graduate teachers at Yale visit http://www.local33.org/