September 24, 2015

Cornell graduate employees to affiliate with NYSUT, AFT

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations
ALBANY, N.Y. Sept. 24, 2015 — Graduate employees at Cornell University have voted to affiliate with New York State United Teachers and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers.

NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said the 600,000-member state union, along with the AFT, has been working with leaders of the Cornell Graduate Students United since May. She said NYSUT is looking forward to continuing to partner with the CGSU in their fight for better wages and working conditions.

“Cornell thrives, in large part, because of the important work its graduate student employees perform every day. They are essential to the vibrancy of the academic community at Cornell,” Magee said. “They should be treated as professionals and have a meaningful voice in the important decisions that affect them.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten said the Cornell graduate employees would be partners with the largest union of faculty in the country in their campaign to be recognized as higher education professionals.

“Today, graduate employees at Cornell stood up to say, ‘we deserve to have our voices heard,’ just like the tens of thousands of graduate students already affiliated with the AFT,” Weingarten said.

James Ingoldsby, CGSU communication and outreach chair, said the partnership would help bolster CGSU’s already extensive organizing effort: “Since CGSU formed 18 months ago, we have had great success highlighting the issues that matter for thousands of grad employees, including stipends, workers’ compensation, sixth and seventh year funding, and a voice in university affairs,” he said. “The union undertook a rigorous internal process to decide whether to affiliate, and if so, who to affiliate with. We were convinced AFT was best placed to provide us with the support necessary to achieve justice for the thousands of graduate employees who take on steep teaching and research loads each semester. Cornell works because we do and we look forward to harnessing the power of our membership to escalate our campaign.”

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.