GEOC Statement on NLRB Rule Change
The GEOC supports the rights of workers to organize into unions, as well as other venues for collective power, to improve the situation of working people regardless of their occupation, nationality, or immigrant status.
You might have noticed that on Friday, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate students are not employees, which means that they are not eligible for union representation and collective bargaining. While it is certainly upsetting to read, we wanted to take time out to assure our members that this ruling does not apply to us, although it has important implications for our colleagues at other institutions, and the circumstances facing graduate workers across the country.
First, the NLRB ruling only applies to graduate workers at private universities. In the United States, labor relations for public employees are managed at the state level, whereas the rules for workers in the private sector are set at the federal level by the NLRB. This means that NLRB rulings only apply to workers in the private sector, which does not include us at Wayne State, because Wayne State is a public university, making us public employees. So in short, we are still considered employees and we still have a union.
However, this ruling is still a blow for our friends at other institutions. We at GEOC work closely with graduate employee locals across the country, some of which are at private universities, so a blow to one graduate worker union is a blow to all of us. This means that it is the official position of GEOC/AFT 6123 that we oppose this ruling and any and all other efforts or legislation which limit the ability of workers to form unions, organize, etc.
So rest easy knowing that this does not affect us directly at Wayne State, but be aware that an injury to one graduate employee is an injury to all graduate employees, and solidarity is of the utmost importance in this matter.
Graduate Employee Organizing Committee #AFT6123