Among several slipshod arguments in its Feb. 21 editorial regarding the unionization efforts of graduate student research assistants (One union doesn’t fit all, 2/22/2011), The Michigan Daily flatly stated that “many GSRAs don’t want to join the union.” That’s a bold statement, and I expected to see some solid evidence back it up. Did the Daily have survey data? Nope. Perhaps they at least interviewed some GSRAs to get their opinion for the editorial? Apparently not.
Here are some facts: Organizers (many of whom are GSRAs themselves) have been having hundreds of conversations with individual GSRAs across campus. The vast majority of these conversations are polite, friendly and informative for both the organizer and the GSRA — I should know as I’ve taken part in some of them. At the end of the day, roughly three quarters of GSRAs approached so far have signed a membership card. Certainly there are a few GSRAs who don’t want a union – and we don’t bully them or anyone else into signing cards – but they are dwarfed by the overwhelming numbers of graduate employees who are enthusiastic about their new membership in the Graduate Employees’ Organization. In its future coverage of this issue, I hope the Daily backs claims with detailed evidence.