University Of Chicago Graduate Student Workers Stage Walkout Demanding Unionization

Mike Krauser
October 18, 2018 - 1:28 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Hundreds of University of Chicago graduate student workers and their supporters walked out of classes and research labs on Thursday, demanding their union be recognized.  

They walked out at 11:03 a.m., representing the 1,103 students who voted in favor of the Graduate Students United, one year ago. 

Pascal Brixell said that five times the administration has refused to bargain. Another student said it did so “condensendingly.” 

Brixel said, “one year later this administration still wishes that we would just sit down and shut up.”   

Members of CGS chanted “Zimmer, Zimmer you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.” 

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

Dan Montgomery, the President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, told the crowd, “I don’t give a good God damn what Zimmer says, you are a union,” to thunderous applause.   

A professor in the crowd, supporting the graduate students, said they’re being treated unfairly.   

Professor Bob Kendrick, from the Music Department, said, “at the last minute they’re asked to teach classes for which they have not been prepared.  They’re asked to do things over and beyond what graduate students in similar universities are asked to do and they live off relatively small stipends with relatively bad healthcare.”     

 

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

The administration asked the National Labor Relations Board to re-consider it’s decision allowing the election. 

Under President Obama, the NLRB determined that graduate students at private universities had the right to unionize. 

The U of C students pulled out of the NLRB process, expecting that under President Trump, that would be reversed. They’re hoping to pressure the University to the bargaining table, as students have successfully done elsewhere.