COLUMBIA, Mo. — Graduate and professional students at the University of Missouri are asking the schools to recognize their graduate assistants’ union among other requests.
The Graduate Professional Council passed four resolutions during its first meeting this semester, The Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/2cLPyfq ) reports. The students also asked for expanded waivers to cover supplemental fees and rules for social media monitoring by campus administrators.
A resolution asking for a more open process for establishing supplemental fees and assurances that promised increases in minimum stipends would not strain already tight departmental budgets was also passed.
The resolutions about supplemental fees and stipends both say “the unfortunate refusal of the university administration to recognize CGW threatens to leave the employee-specific interests of graduate-professional students inadequately protected.”
The resolutions address issues stemming from a university decision last year to cancel individual health insurance plans for graduate assistants. The school reversed its decision, but it sparked an organizing campaign.
According to council spokesman Joshua Bolton, the resolutions are not explicit endorsements of the union, but a call for the university to recognize a vote in April where 84 percent of the graduate assistants who participated supported the union. About 30 percent of the school’s graduate assistants voted.
“We think the matter should be determined by graduate workers themselves and not by an unaccountable outside party,” Bolton said.
The university increased minimum stipends for doctoral students with at least a half-time appointment from $15,000 to $18,000 and promised that health insurance would continue.
The Coalition of Graduate Workers sued the university in May seeking recognition.
Michael Kaemmerer, a lawyer hired by the university, says graduate assistants are students rather than employees and have no right to bargain collectively.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com