I am writing from Oregon State University, where our 1,800 graduate researchers and teaching assistants collectively formed a union 20 years ago. Our union, Coalition of Graduate Employees, has tirelessly fought for our basic living conditions year after year against an administration dead set on paying us as little as possible and with little accountability.

Through hard work we now have incredible healthcare, protections for international students and LGBTQ+ workers, tuition remission and a livable wage. It has taken us 20 years to get to where we are now but it really changes lives. Graduate employees are parents, family members and loved ones, and we deserve to be treated fairly. Although administrations fight us, we continue to push forth, and will always show up for our peers.

It is revolting to see UNM administration putting their money towards stripping graduate employees of their right to form a union. Union busting is antithetical to equity, justice and inclusion. Does UNM want to be a best-in-class university? Do you stand for values of fairness and a safe community? Recognize the United Graduate Workers. At the end of the day you have to look at your morals, ethics and whether you are doing good in the world. Right now, UNM administrators making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year are running a dishonest campaign which will hurt vulnerable workers the most.

Do the right thing. Recognize the union. Give them a fantastic first contract. To the faculty and students: please support UNM United Graduate Workers. Hundreds of miles away, we are hearing about the dirty tactics UNM admin are using. Show up and build a strong community together. Everyone stands to gain from a union victory.


Andrea Haverkamp,
President of the Coalition of Graduate Employees at Oregon State University