GAPSA VP is spreading rumors

International students can unionize without losing their visas.

I am concerned about the portrayal of international students by Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Vice President for Student Affairs Bree Dalager in the March 24 article, âÄúGAPSA considers grad unionization.âÄù The article states that Dalager had âÄútalked with international students who were concerned that if they didnâÄôt join the union, they might lose their visas.âÄù
I am writing to refute DalagerâÄôs statement and question her motives for promoting information that is untrue, especially considering her interest in âÄúpublic informationalâÄù sessions on graduate student unionization. By implying in the article that international students can lose their visas, Dalager is purposeully disseminating inaccurate information about unionization âÄî and therefore actively contributing to the problem she claims exists.
So what are DalagerâÄôs motivations? If she is so concerned about this issue, why didnâÄôt she make it clear in the meeting that international studentsâÄô visas are not at risk?
I am one of the many international students who support unionization. After coming to the U.S. as a graduate student, I realized that working people in the U.S. are much better off than in my country (India) because of the vibrant history of labor and union rights campaigns. When I was approached by an organizer about getting involved in the unionization effort, I was never told that my visa was at risk in any way. I also know that it is my right according to state and federal law to participate in unionization.
I am concerned about Dalager âÄî or any other member of student government âÄî speaking on behalf of international students as if we are a monolith. Such rumor-mongering is how unionization historically has been attacked.
Dalager is trying to insert herself into a process in which she has no place. The union has called on the University of Minnesota to engage in a debate about the merits of unionization, and it is between our union and the University where a transparent and unbiased dialogue should take place.