Providence – At Brown University, graduate students and school administrators are awaiting a federal decision that could change the relationship between graduate students and the school. They are waiting for a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board on whether an election should be held to determine if research and teaching assistants want union representation.
Most candidates for advanced degrees at Brown serve as research or teaching assistants. Union backers say those students want more say on how they are treated. Opponents say a union would negatively affect the relationship between graduate assistants and the school by making them workers first and students second.
If the United Auto Workers succeeds in organizing the graduate students, Brown would become only the second private university in the country with unionized teaching assistants. The UAW has some other Ivy League institutions in its sights though.
Hear Martha Bebinger?s full report from WRNI?s Morning Edition