NEWS

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October 17, 2017

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6:02 p.m.

Duckworth and Durbin Send Letters of Support for Unionization

Three members of Congress, including both Senators from Illinois and the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 4th congressional district, Luis Gutiérrez, sent statements of support to graduate students as they began their unionization vote this week.

Dear University of Chicago Graduate Students,

Greetings!

I am pleased to offer my support in your efforts to organize teaching and research assistants at the University of Chicago.

The right to organize is a basic right for all workers in this country. Your engagement will not only help your fellow students, but it will improve the quality of education and life throughout the University. The ability to negotiate salaries, benefits and working conditions will ensure teaching and research assistants are set up for success.

While the outcome of the election is entirely yours, you have already made a difference by organizing and staying strong throughout the process.

I stand in solidarity with your efforts to achieve a fair and more equitable voice at the University of Chicago.

Sincerely,

Tammy Duckworth

United States Senator

 

Dear Graduate Students United:

I offer my strong support in your struggle to organize a union of graduate workers. The labor of graduate employees plays a vital role at the University of Chicago. Every undergraduate student is taught by a teaching assistant at some point and research assistants advance scientific frontiers. The right to organize and create fairer working conditions is foundational to American values. In an era of unprecedented inequality, unions play a vital role in strengthening our economy and growing our middle class.

I stand in full solidarity and encourage the University of Chicago to respect your rights and allow this democratic process to move forward fairly.

I look forward to an open and thoughtful process that allows all workers to arrive at the best conclusion for themselves, their fellow faculty and the university or college.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator

 

Dear Graduate Students United:

Throughout my career in public service, I have strongly and consistently advocated for policies that protect workers and support their right to unionize.

Strong unions help create strong professionals, families, and a stronger America. When workers are organized, wages and benefits rise and working conditions improve. Unions have led the important fights throughout our history for more affordable health care, increases in minimum wage and strengthening overtime rules. Because of the broader benefits to all of society, policies that facilitate rather than impede unions’ ability to organize are essential to American workers and a strong middle class.

It has come to my attention that teaching assistants and research assistants will have the opportunity to vote to form a union at the University of Chicago. It is your legal right to organize and vote and I ask you take full advantage of this election. I also ask the faculty and administration at the University of Chicago to recognize and respect the rights of teaching assistants and research assistants to participate in this process. I encourage you to make your decision with your family, future, and values in mind.

Sincerely,

Luis V. Gutiérrez

Member of Congress

Read full coverage of the unionization vote here.

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