“Whether unionization will best serve their employment interests and educational objectives and values is something that faculty and graduate students should be entitled to decide for themselves,” says the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association (APA) in a statement released yesterday. “It is thus the APA’s position that graduate students should have the right to unionize and participate in collective bargaining should they vote democratically to do so.”
The statement announces that the APA “strongly opposes” a proposed rule change by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would hold that “students who perform services—including teaching and/or research—for compensation at a private college or university in connection with their studies are not ’employees'”, and thus do not have a federal right to unionize. Students have had that right since 2016.
On the APA website and via email with the organization’s members, the Board of Officers accompanied the statement with the following:
The board submitted this comment following an informal poll of APA members and constituents, initiated by the APA’s Graduate Student Council. The overwhelming majority—more than 90 percent of all respondents, and nearly 95 percent of graduate student respondents—favored the APA submitting a comment in support of graduate student workers’ right to unionize and opposing the adoption of the proposed rule. Less than 7 percent of respondents preferred the APA not comment on the proposed rule, and less than 3 percent of respondents wanted the APA to comment in support of the proposed rule.
The above comment also maintains the APA’s historical position in support of its members’ right to unionize, which was codified by the APA board in 1976 on the recommendation of an ad hoc committee on collective bargaining and unionization.
You can read the full statement here.