Portland State University Graduate Workers Union Demands Inclusion in Presidential Search Process

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Graduate Workers Effort Supported by Other Unions at PSU
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Contact: Andrew Gorry, andrewg@aft-oregon.org, 971-888-5665
PORTLAND, OR — The newly certified Graduate Employees Union, AFT-AAUP (GEU), representing nearly 800 graduate workers at Portland State University, has formally requested to Board Chair Pete Nickerson that the university include a representative from the union on the search committee to replace departing president Wim Wiewel.
The committee is expected to contain 15-20 members, and will include one representative from each of the other three major unions on campus—Portland State University American Association of University Professors (PSU-AAUP), Portland State University Faculty Association (PSUFA), and SEIU Local 503 Chapter 89 (SEIU Local 89). But Nickerson, through General Counsel David Reese, recently informed GEU they will not be included in the process.
“GEU represents employees of Portland State University who work every day alongside faculty and staff to serve the university community in teaching, research, and administration,” said Kyle Rush, a founding member of the GEU Coordinating Committee. “We have a unique and important perspective on what this university needs in a new president, and need to be included in this important process.”
Representatives from PSU-AAUP, PSUFA, and SEIU Local 89 have all expressed support for the inclusion of a representative from GEU on the search committee.
“Graduate workers are crucial to the educational function and culture of Portland State University. As we search for a new president, their voices are needed. Excluding them would be a great disservice to PSU and to us all. I urge Board Chair Nickerson to reverse his decision and include a representative from GEU on the committee,” said José Padín, president of PSU-AAUP.
GEU was certified by the Oregon Employment Relations Board on May 31, 2016 as the representative of graduate workers at PSU, including all graduate teaching, research, and administrative assistants. Affiliated with American Federation of Teachers-Oregon and the American Association of University Professors, it is heading into negotiations on its first contract with the university this fall.
Learn more about GEU at pdxgeu.org.