OSU research assistants have overwhelmingly designated AFT Local 6069, Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE) as their union representative in an election conducted by the Employment Relations Board (ERB). Inclusion of research assistants doubles the CGE bargaining unit to some 1,700, covering all OSU graduate employees. Graduate employees teach and assist in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and perform valuable research in science, engineering, humanities, and many other fields.
“This is a historic victory for graduate employees at Oregon State! For too long a significant number of graduate teaching and research assistants have been denied their rights as workers,” said Wren Keturi, Local 6069 (CGE) President. “This election affirms their rights as workers and affirms their choice for union representation,” she added.
Success comes after a protracted struggle for representation, and marks the second time these employees chose CGE. In 2012, a significant majority of the unrepresented OSU graduate employees designated CGE as their union representative. The union, which is an affiliate of AFT-Oregon and its national union, the American Federation of Teachers, already represented most graduate employees at the university.
The OSU administration refused to voluntarily recognize the employees into the existing CGE bargaining unit, arguing that they were not public employees. On January 4, 2013, the ERB ruled that they were public employees and ordered an election.
“It feels empowering to see the system work for the people,” said Bèatrice Moissinac, RA, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “This shows that with enough determination, a small group can work to make a better community for everyone,” she said.