Members of the University of Maryland’s GSG voted unanimously Friday to pass a resolution calling for graduate student collective bargaining rights.
The vote marks another year of the Graduate Student Government’s fight for graduate worker collective bargaining rights. Attempts to legalize collective bargaining for graduate workers in the University System of Maryland have failed to pass the Maryland Senate in past years.
GSG President Autumn Perkey said the organization tends to pass a resolution calling for graduate worker collective bargaining every year, although not always unanimously.
“Given the state of affairs, what’s going on around the university, we thought this was an appropriate action to be taken,” Perkey, a government and politics doctoral student, said. “We understand there are some needs the graduate students have that currently aren’t being met by the meet and confer process. Maybe that’ll change without collective bargaining, but as of now, it has not.”
The journalism studies doctoral program’s representative Keegan Clements-Housser, who sponsored the resolution, said it is a step in the right direction. The resolution is not binding, but allows the GSG to express its support for collective bargaining, Clements-Housser said.
Clements-Housser added the GSG plans to work with members of the Maryland General Assembly to lobby for a resolution legalizing graduate worker collective bargaining within the system.
“We wanted to make it very clear that we absolutely support the right of graduate students to collectively bargain, and belong to a union and be recognized by the state as a union, if they choose,” he said.
Epidemiology doctoral student Nora Jameson plans to testify in support of graduate worker collective bargaining rights if the bill is reintroduced to the general assembly in the spring, they said.
“If I have the ability to go to Annapolis I will,” said Jameson, who also sponsored the resolution in support of collective bargaining. “Showing face for unionization is really part of how it works.
During its first meeting of the year on Friday, the GSG also established a committee to oversee the planning of its annual Graduate Research Appreciation Day conference in the spring.
GSG director of operations Ankur Chavan leads the committee to plan GRAD, a conference where graduate students can present their research and receive feedback from faculty and other graduate students.
“GRAD is a good opportunity for students to present their posters in front of graduate students from all various departments and highly qualified judges,” Chavan said.