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UMN graduate students vote to unionize

This is the sixth unionization attempt from graduate student workers since 1974.
Graduate student workers launched a card signing campaign on Feb. 20. Photo courtesy of GLU-UE.

University of Minnesota graduate student workers voted in favor of forming the Graduate Labor Union-United Electrical (GLU-UE). 

Student workers voted 2,487-70 to unionize, according to a statement from GLU-UE. About 61% of eligible graduate student workers voted.

The election started on Tuesday and ended Thursday. Voting was open to graduate student workers at both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses.

“The energy among grad workers this week was palpable,” Yusra Murad, a graduate worker in health policy and management, said in a statement Friday. “This victory is a testament to the workers who have taken the time to imagine what is possible and how much stronger we are together.”

The vote came after GLU-UE publicly launched their unionization efforts with a card signing campaign on Feb. 20. More than 1,700 graduate students signed cards within the first 12 hours of the campaign. The union submitted the cards to the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services on March 18 after receiving signatures from about 65% of graduate student workers. 

There have been multiple previous failed attempts to unionize, with the most recent in 2012 when about 62% of graduate student workers voted against unionizing.

GLU-UE aims to address issues brought forward by graduate students, including improved pay, benefits, working conditions, grievance procedures and support for international students.

“Only by addressing these issues will we be able to fully fulfill the educational mission of the University,” GLU-UE said in a statement Friday. 

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