Graduate students at the University of Rochester held a press conference Wednesday announcing their intention to unionize.
Their announcement comes days after a National Labor Relations Board decision granted graduate students at private colleges the right to unionize.
Graduate student Andrew Thomas was among the speakers at Wednesdays press conference, and said, “Individual graduate students and adjuncts often suffer in silent isolated silos while the university writes off the suffering as a cost of doing business, completely out of touch with its contingent faculty.”
The University of Rochester released a statement that said, “Under the National Labor Relations Board’s decision, graduate students who work for the university now have the right to organize and they may choose to do so. We are carefully reviewing the decision. We intend, as always, to support outstanding academic and employment relations for all at our university.”
According to the graduate students, they often work 10 to 12 days without overtime, and face issues like parental leave, child care and healthcare. The students also cited being paid late and being asked to teach new courses at the last minute as reasons to form a union.
The students plan to work with the Service Employees International Union Local 200 in order to negotiate better working conditions with the school, according to the Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper. The SEIU already represents around 300 part-time faculty and staff at the University of Rochester.
The New York school counts conservative economist and television analyst Larry Kudlow, the founder of Kodak pictures George Eastman and former Xerox CEO David Kearns among its alumni.
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