The graduate student union has announced its intentions to begin a six day strike on April 24 unless the University agrees to bargain, potentially leaving hundreds of Core classes and recitations without instructors in the last week of classes before finals.
In the most recent development in a long legal battle with the University over graduate students’ right to unionize, graduate student supporters of the union voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize the union’s bargaining committee to call a strike. This development comes after a year of protests and threats of legal action following the University’s refusal to bargain with the union after an initial vote to unionize in December 2016.
According to a union website, if University President Bollinger does not send a letter expressing the University’s intent to begin bargaining with the union by 10 a.m. on April 24, graduate students will stop all work between April 24 and April 30. The union’s statement promises further strikes if the University continues to oppose graduate student unionization.
During a strike, graduate students who participate are protected from retaliation if they stop all research and teaching work. However, strikers lose their protections if they perform any work over the course of a strike, which may make communication between students and their teaching or research assistants difficult or impossible while the strike is in place.
However, the union will not require any graduate students to participate in the strike, leaving the degree of participation in the strike uncertain. Turnout in the strike authorization vote was roughly half of eligible graduate students.
The University could not be immediately reached for comment.
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