Graduate workers vote to strike:

Graduate students at Yale and Columbia today approved strikes to try to force administrators to recognize them as unions. Students at both campuses voted 82 percent to 18 percent to strike for one week beginning Monday, said Anthony Dugdale, a research analyst at UNITE/HERE, which represents workers in the apparel and textile industries, industrial laundries, hotels, casinos and other businesses. Hundreds of graduate students will not teach classes, host review sessions or participate in research next week. The strike will be the first by Ivy League graduate students since the National Labor Relations Board ruled last year that graduate students at private colleges are students, not workers, and cannot form unions. That decision was a blow to the union movement, as it meant that in order for graduate students to win recognition, university administrators would have to voluntarily grant it – something they have refused to do. Organizers hope the combined pressure of simultaneous strikes on two campuses will help reverse that stance. “By asserting this as one voice, we’re identifying what we have in common: that we should be recognized as legal workers and be respected and given bargaining rights,” said Dehlia Hannah, a philosophy graduate student at Columbia. University officials say their position is unchanged.


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