History Department Resolution on the Matter of Graduate Assistant Unionization

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Whereas Georgetown University’s Just Employment Policy “affirms Georgetown’s commitment that everyone in the Georgetown community has a right to a safe and harassment-free environment, that all working members have the right to freely associate and organize, and that the University will respect the rights of employees to vote for or against union representation without intimidation, unjust pressure, undue delay or hindrance in accordance with applicable law”; and 

Whereas “applicable law” holds that graduate assistants are considered employees under U.S. labor law and therefore possess the right to unionize and bargain collectively; and 

Whereas the University’s Just Employment Policy and applicable federal law prevent the University or its officers from impeding the rights of the graduate assistants, as employees, to decide for themselves in a democratic fashion whether or not they want to unionize and bargain collectively; and 

Whereas the University’s policy announcement of December 4, 2017, opposing these legal rights of our graduate assistants compromises the University’s proud recent record on labor relations issues, and treats graduate assistants as wards of the University’s administration rather than as rights-bearing members of the University community without whose essential labor this institution could not function; 

Therefore, be it resolved that the Department of History of Georgetown University objects in the strongest terms to the University’s present position and urges University administrators to reverse this position, to abide by the law and the University’s own policies, and to allow the graduate assistants to decide for themselves whether they should unionize and seek to bargain collectively with the University. 

Approved by the faculty of the History Department, Georgetown University, 12/7/17