Graduate research assistants allowed to join union
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 01:01
Oregon State University graduate research assistants now have the right to join the Coalition of Graduate Employees, a union for graduate student employees, according to a decision issued by the state Employee Relations Board on Monday.
The decision, which comes after the university challenged in May the union’s request to include graduate research assistants as part of the bargaining unit, opens the door for research assistants to join the union.
In the coming weeks, research assistants will be participating in an election in order to decide whether to join the union. In March, the union collected decision cards from 63 percent of unrepresented graduate employees wanting to join the union.
According to Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing, the university has not decided how it will respond to the ruling.
“The university received the ruling Monday afternoon and is still reviewing the document,” Clark said. “We will be responding with the steps the university may take within the next couple of days. It is a complex and lengthy document that requires some time to go through.”
Clark said the university’s attorneys are going through the document and he anticipated a decision by Thursday or Friday.
Currently, graduate research assistants are not represented by the Coalition of Graduate Employees during the union’s collective bargaining with the university. The union until now has represented graduate teaching assistants.
While OSU had not recognized its research assistants and challenged the petition to expand the bargaining unit, the University of Oregon has recognized graduate research assistants as part of its bargaining unit since the early 1990s.
Wren Keturi, president of the Coalition of Graduate Employees, was happy with the outcome of the board’s decision.
“While the ERB made the decision, it was the effort of hundreds of grad students who organized because they wanted CGE to represent them,” Keturi said.
Don Iler, editor-in-chief
On Twitter: @doniler