By Gregg McQueen
Yes to the union.
Graduate student workers at Fordham University have successfully voted to unionize during an official National Labor Relations Board election held on April 7.
At an election held on the Fordham’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, student workers overwhelmingly voted in favor of joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, by a vote count of 229-15.
According to graduate students, the new union is seeking higher pay for student workers, more comprehensive health benefits, extended support for working parents including child care, and a formal process to file grievances.
“Graduate student workers are paid $15,000 to $20,000 thousand less than the living wage in New York City. They’re also really overworked, and the conditions of our work can be very exploitative,” said Carolyn Cargile, a Senior Teaching Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Fordham’s English Department.
“Also, there are no real accommodations for graduate student working parents,” she added. “They don’t have access to the kinds of resources that faculty or other employees of the university do when it comes to child care or family leave.”
The union is also seeking greater protection for international students, who are often prevented from working over the summer.