On Monday and Tuesday, graduate students at the University of Missouri-Columbia overwhelmingly voted in favor of allowing the Coalition of Graduate Workers, an affiliate of the Missouri National Education Association, to exclusively represent MU graduate workers in collective bargaining.
The vote was conducted by the League of Women Voters, a neutral third party.
A simple majority was enough to take the next step toward unionization, but workers will still have to wait for university administration to recognize them before they can negotiate.
Missouri law states employees have the right to collectively bargain and form a union, but MU has never officially classified graduate students as employees — even though the Graduate Professional Council passed a resolution in February reaffirming graduate students’ rights as employees.
In an email to the Graduate Professional Council on April 8, MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley wrote, “any vote to unionize at this time cannot be considered binding or recognized by the university.”
Joseph Moore, a member of the Coalition of Graduate Workers organizing committee, said the group’s lawyers were prepared to file a lawsuit if the university doesn’t recognize the results of the election.
Read more: Columbia Missourian