solidarity across unions

Saturday, October 25, 2003

GET-UP gets agreement of dialouge! 

October 25, 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GRADUATE EMPLOYEES PICKET PENN PRESIDENT'S BOOK SIGNING TODAY; RODIN AGREES TO ENGAGE GET-UP IN DIALOGUE A large contingent of GET-UP members and supporters picketed this afternoon, October 25, at a book signing by University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin at the Penn Bookstore. The demonstrators demanded that the Penn administration count the votes cast by Penn's graduate employees in a February 2003 union recognition election and come to the table ready to bargain a fair contract with GET-UP/AFT. President Rodin was scheduled to talk about the value of public discourse in the university, the subject of her book, Public Discourse in America. However, the presence of GET-UP members in the audience apparently led to a sudden change of plans and the question-and-answer session was abruptly cancelled. In response to a GET-UP member who asked why she refuses to talk to the union, President Rodin agreed to engage in dialogue. GET-UP spokesperson Dillon Brown said, ìThis represents a significant departure from President Rodinís long history of refusing to address our concerns. We welcome this surprising development and we intend to request an appointment at her earliest possible convenience.î Participants gathered at 38th Street and Locust Walk at 1 PM and marched to the Penn Bookstore at 36th and Walnut Streets. Organizers distributed hundreds of leaflets to visiting parents of Penn students informing them of Pennís obstruction of the graduate assistantsí right to choose union representation. ìThe turnout and energy on the picket line marks a growing frustration with the administrationís stonewalling of our right to have our ballots counted,î said GET-UP member and History graduate teaching assistant, Katie Paugh. Hundreds of graduate teaching and research assistants voted in the February 2003 election held under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board. Their ballots remain impounded due to an appeal filed by the University. GET-UP website and office: 215-386-2120 Press Release pdf
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The Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions is a loose-knit coalition of labor unions in the USA and Canada that represents graduate students employed as teachers, researchers, and administrative staff.