The Maneater

Five things to know about the graduate student union authorization election

The election results will be announced Tuesday night.

A supporter of graduate student rights cheers on one of the speakers at the first graduate student protest on August 26, 2015.

1. The vote will show whether graduate workers support unionization The election Monday and Tuesday is for graduate student workers to vote on whether they want the Coalition of Graduate Workers to be their representative for collective bargaining. Polling stations will be set up from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Center and Memorial Union, and results will be announced Tuesday night. The Columbia chapter of the League of Women Voters will operate the election and certify its results.

2. Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said MU will not recognize the results of the election In an interview with the Columbia Tribune, Foley called the election a “mock vote” and a “straw poll,” adding that seeing the results would be important, but ultimately the university would look to the courts for a determination of whether graduate workers are employees.

“I don’t want to go to war with these kids,” he said.

3. The legal clarification of “employee” is still a factor In February, interim UM System President Mike Middleton said the administration needed legal clarity on the employee status of graduate students before the union could be recognized. CGW is preparing to file a lawsuit in order to get a court ruling on their employee status. In the meantime, the union authorization election will determine whether CGW has graduate worker support.

4. CGW can’t act as a collective bargainer until recognized by both workers and the UM System Until the UM System recognizes the union election results or until a legal determination of whether graduate workers are employees is given, CGW cannot act as a collective bargaining agent. In the interim, the coalition still plans to be active in raising awareness for their cause on social media and through demonstrations. CGW co-chairman Eric Scott estimates that the legal process would take less than a year, expecting a pretty “open-and-shut case.”

“It takes however long it takes once it gets into the courts,” he said. “Which is another reason why the university shouldn’t take us down that path.”

5. Results will be announced Tuesday night If the majority vote “yes,” the ball is in the UM System’s and MU’s court in terms of recognizing the results of the election. If they do not, CGW will enter into the legal process.

Edited by Taylor Blatchford | tblatchford@themaneater.com

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