Union vote set for Columbia teaching and research assistants

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Columbia University graduate teaching and research assistants will vote next month on whether to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers.

The vote on Dec. 7 and 8 comes after the National Labor Relations Board ruled in August that graduate students at private universities have a right to unionize.

Civil engineering student Olga Brudastova says the vote comes after years of organizing and “despite Columbia’s efforts to stop our campaign.”

Columbia Provost John Coatsworth says students should “consider the costs of representation by the UAW along with the promised benefits.”

Union backers say collective bargaining will give graduate students more control over their employment and may lead to higher stipends and better benefits.

A grad student unionization vote at Harvard is scheduled for Nov. 16 and 17.