Graduate Employees and Students Organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Full name Graduate Employees and Students Organization
Founded 1990
Affiliation UNITE HERE
Country United States
Website GESO Website
GESO protest at Yale University, 2005

The Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) is a group of graduate student teachers and researchers that is trying to be recognized as a union at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

GESO is affiliated with UNITE HERE as a constituent member of the Federation of Hospital and University Employees, which also includes food service and maintenance workers, clerical and technical workers, and employees of Yale-New Haven Hospital's dietary unit.

Origin and history[edit]

The group's precursor, T.A. Solidarity, was founded in 1987. T.A. Solidarity members voted to affiliate with other campus unions in the Spring of 1990, seeking union recognition and collective bargaining, and adopting their current nomenclature.

In March, 2003, GESO members joined members of campus unions in a one week strike, in an attempt to gain recognition as a collective bargaining agent from the Yale University administration.

In April 2003, GESO held a voluntary, not legally binding, election under the supervision of the League of Women Voters, in which graduate students voted 694 to 651 against making GESO their collective bargaining agent.[1] GESO later attributed the loss to an unexpectedly high number of science students turning out to vote. Additionally, there were also 27 write in ballots which stated that they supported the idea of unionization, but did not support GESO as that union.[2]

In April of 2005, GESO voted to go on strike, but the actual breakdown of this vote was not released.[3] In December 2005, GESO finally won a victory in their own elections, after excluding all TAs from the natural sciences. When asked why this population was excluded, GESO publicity contact Rachel Sulkes stated that they have "defined themselves as outside our interests."[4]

GESO has since mounted and won campaigns over pay equity in graduate programs[citation needed], alleged human rights violations in the university's investment policies[citation needed], equal treatment for international students[citation needed], parental leave[citation needed], and improved health care benefits[citation needed]. It continues to push for recognition from the university, to organize for better job prospects and working conditions in academia, and against what members see as an increasingly corporate university system.[5]


Several hundred graduate students from humanities and social sciences at Yale and Columbia universities went on a teaching strike for five days in April 2005[3] to demand recognition from their universities less than a year after the National Labor Relations Board denied them of protections under the National Labor Relations Act, reversing an earlier precedent, decided in 2000, that graduate employees at New York University were workers and thus entitled to said protections. University officials have stated that the strike had "minimal impact" on the operations of the school.[citation needed] Jesse Jackson made a brief appearance on behalf of GESO. [6] The university has stated that it will continue its previous policy and will not bargain with GESO. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Grad Students Reject Union In Yale Vote". New York Times. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Graduate Students Vote Down Unionization". Yale Daily News. 2003-05-01. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Questions Linger After GESOs Vote". Yale Daily News. 2005-04-15. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Yale Daily News Earth to Geso Efforts to Unionize are Lost Cause". Yale Daily News. 2005-01-12. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  5. ^ "Grad Students to the Barricades". 
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]