From:   Ricardo Ochoa <>
  To:      Workplace
  Date:    May 16, 2001
  Posted:  May 10, 2001

  Brown University Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants File Union
  Petition with National Labor Relations Board

  Move by Brown TAs & RAs Mirrors Recent Labor Activism at Columbia University
  and New York University

  A majority of Brown University's teaching assistants and research assistants
  will file a petition today with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston
  requesting union representation. The move by Brown student employees is part
  of a growing trend in higher education -- the unionization of non-tenured
  university teachers and researchers. Within the last two months, New York
  University became the first private university in America to begin
  bargaining with its TAs and RAs and Columbia University's TAs and RAs
  petitioned for union representation. The Brown, NYU, and Columbia groups are
  all part of the United Auto Workers.
  "The teaching and research we do at Brown makes undergraduate education and
  faculty achievement possible. By unionizing we're saying that we want a
  voice in our working conditions, wages, and health benefits," said Keith
  Hall, Brown Computer Science Department teaching assistant and Ph.D.
  Most TAs make about $6,200 a semester, but some are paid as little as $800.
  TA work ranges from grading papers and conducting laboratory and discussion
  sessions for professors, to teaching classes on their own. Research
  assistants, defined as employees by the NLRB in its NYU decision, do a
  variety of research support tasks ranging from administrative work to highly
  technical research and analysis.
  "Collective bargaining is the only way for us to have a real say in the
  terms and conditions of our work," said Christi Hancock, a Brown teaching
  assistant and Ph.D. student in American Civilization. "The overwhelming
  support of TAs and RAs sends a clear message to the Brown administration
  that they should not stand in the way of a democratic election for
  "All across the country student workers and students in general are building
  a new movement for social and economic justice. It's gratifying to see the
  student employees follow in Brown's proud activist tradition by filing this
  petition today," commented UAW vice-president Elizabeth Bunn who heads the
  UAW's Technical, Office and Professional (TOP) department.
  "We are delighted to welcome more university workers to the growing movement
  to win dignity and respect for university employees. They have our full
  support," said Phil Wheeler, Regional Director of UAW Region 9A.
  The UAW represents over 15,000 graduate employees at Columbia University, UC
  Berkeley, UCLA, the University of Washington, the University of
  Massachusetts, and New York University, and thousands of clerical and
  support staff at Columbia, Barnard, Teachers' College and other

Press Contact: Christi Hancock, 401-273-3305