The Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees (GAGE) announced that on Oct. 8 they had notified the university of their intent to hold an election with the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
GAGE made the announcement through their Twitter account, where they added that an election was just the beginning. “Our ultimate goal is to negotiate the best possible contract for #graduate workers at Georgetown, one that truly values our contributions to the university as teachers, researchers, and graduate assistants,” the tweet read.
On April 2, GAGE, who has been represented by the American Federation of Teachers throughout this process, reached an agreement with the university to hold a unionization election administered by the AAA. GAGE’s statement highlighted their goals for collective bargaining.
“This agreement, the first of its kind between a private university and a graduate union in the United States, guarantees that, when we win, the administration will come to the table and bargain with us on the issues that matter to graduate workers at Georgetown, including wages, health care, family leave policy, fee and tuition waivers, and grievance procedures,” the statement read.
A university spokesperson wrote in an email to the Voice that university stands by the April 2 agreement. “The university will work with GAGE/AFT and AAA to hold an election per our agreement. We encourage all eligible graduate students to get informed and vote,” they wrote.
As outlined in the agreement, the election will take place outside of the established procedures outlined in the National Labor Relations Act. This means that if a majority of eligible students vote to form a union, it will be insulated from any changes in National Labor Relations Board rulings regarding the ability of graduate students to unionize.
Per the agreement, the election must take place at least 21 days after AAA has confirmed that thirty percent of the graduate students eligible to vote in the election have indicated their interest in unionization by signing authorization cards.