Graduate Employees and Students Organization

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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. If recognized, GESO would be the second graduate student union at a private university, following GSOC, or the Graduate Student Organizing Committee at New York University.[1][2]

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.

In 2014, GESO took its campaign public at a rally on October 21, unveiling a petition with the photographs of over 1000 graduate students calling on Yale to negotiate the terms of a neutral election.[3] GESO is asking Yale to address three main issues: fairness in teaching and funding; mental healthcare for graduate students; and racial and gender equity, both within the graduate student population and the Yale faculty.[4]

GESO has received support from many prominent academics, including Corey Robin,[5] Michael Denning,[6] David Graeber,[7] and Michael Bérubé,[8] and elected officials, including Governor Dannel Malloy, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.[3]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In April 2003, following the divisive strike-vote, GESO again held a voluntary, not legally binding, election under the supervision of the League of Women Voters. This time, GESO narrowly lost the election, with graduate students voting 694 to 651 against making GESO their collective bargaining agent.[9] Early in 2005, GESO released a report on diversity in the Ivies, entitled “The (Un) Changing Face of the Ivy League.” [10] GESO has since mounted and won campaigns over pay equity in graduate programs[11] and university investment policy.[12][13] It advocates for recognition from the university, better job prospects and working conditions in academia, and a less corporate university structure.[14]

In 2012, GESO hosted a conference on academic labor entitled, "The Changing University: An Interdisciplinary Symposium".[15] In 2014, GESO re-emerged with two "majority petition" rallies. The first, held on April 30, presented a petition to the Yale administration with over 1000 signatures of graduate students.[16] The second, on October 21, 2014, presented a petition with over 1000 photographs of graduate students paired with allies from the local unions, the community, and elected officials, including Governor Dannel Malloy, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.[17] In February 2015, GESO released a report on the expansion of Yale College, entitled "Teaching in a Growing Yale: Critical Questions."[18] GESO presented a petition with over 1100 signatures to the university in May 2015.[4] The petition calls on Yale to "begin contract negotiations on issues of immediate concern including funding security, racial and gender equity, and mental health care."[19]

See also[edit]


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  9. ^ "Grad Students Reject Union In Yale Vote". New York Times. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
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  14. ^ "Grad Students to the Barricades". 
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