Student Association supports GTAAA unionization

The Student Association Senate endorsed a resolution supporting the unionization efforts of GW teaching assistants and part-time faculty Tuesday.

At the SA Senate meeting, President Phil Meisner also came out in support of the group. Previously, Meisner called possible unionization a complicated issue. But Tuesday, Meisner said members of the Graduate Teaching Assistant-Adjunct Alliance have the right to collectively bargain.

The clarity comes from the fact that they have the right, Meisner said.

The GTAAA is attempting to unionize with the United Auto Workers in an effort to garner increased wages and benefits from GW.

According to a University statement read by GW Director of Public Affairs Barbara Porter, GW respects the (SA’s) right to express its views on the GTAAA’s unionization efforts. According to the statement, unionization matters are extremely complex.

In this case, it raises many questions, not the least of which is the impact it might have on GW as an academic community, according to the statement read by Porter.

Sharon Hanscom, a member of the GTAAA, said she was happy for the support.

We need as much support as possible, she said.

According to the SA Senate resolution, sponsored by graduate Sen. Jon Rodeback (CSAS), the SA urges the University administration to recognize the GTAAA union as the collective bargaining union.

Meisner said the GTAAA is a student organization, and he will not treat them any differently from other student organizations.

I can’t do anything that will aid them any more than I would do for any other student, Meisner said.

But he said the SA recognizes the right to collective bargaining, and he intends to sign the resolution.

Hanscom said GTAAA members are forging ahead, gauging support with a signature drive. She said she is confident that a majority of GTAs and part-time faculty will want to have union recognition.

According to the University statement, GW works with some non-academic employee unions and strives for good relations with these unions.

Meisner said as long as the relationship between GTAs and GW remains the same, they have the right to collective bargaining.

According to the University statement, GW administrators are aware of the process for unionization.

As an academic institution should, we will continue to encourage free and open discussion of the issues, always mindful of the procedures established by the (National Labor Relations Board), according to the statement.

Hanscom said a card drive will begin in the spring, trying to determine whether GTAs and adjunct instructors desire union representation with the UAW.

We would like the University to recognize our union by the end of the spring semester, she said.

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