Graduate Student Union Negotiations

Background Information

On July 14, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board ordered that an election take place among graduate students performing instructional and research services to determine if the United Autoworkers Union should represent them in negotiations for a union contract with Northeastern.  A request for review of that determination remains pending with the NLRB.  In late September, the election resulted in the United Autoworkers Union receiving a majority of votes cast and negotiations over the terms of a graduate union contract have now commenced between the University and the Union.

This webpage will provide periodic updates concerning bargaining, with individual bargaining sessions identified below.

Bargaining History

September 21, 2023.

Union election results announced that the United Autoworkers had been elected to represent a bargaining unit of graduate students.

October 23, 2023.

Union requested to meet to begin the contract negotiation process. The University offered to meet on November 8, 2023 to begin negotiations.

November 8, 2023.

The University arrived with its bargaining team for negotiations. The Union was present with 8 representatives. The University asked if the Union wanted to begin contract negotiations and the Union replied that it did not come to the meeting ready to bargain because it had no bargaining team assembled. It was agreed that the parties would meet again on December 13th for bargaining.

December 13, 2023.

The University arrived with its bargaining team for negotiations. The Union was present with its bargaining committee, but offered no proposals for a contract. The Union used the majority of the meeting time discussing PhD desk space in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. The University asked if the Union had a contract proposal about desk space or any other matter that it wanted to discuss. The Union responded that it had no contract proposals, and requested information about desk space in other colleges. The Union proposed that the parties next meet for bargaining on January 25, 2024.

January 25, 2024.

The parties met for what was the second official negotiation session.  The Union brought counterproposals on ground rules that had been proposed by the University in December, and after brief discussion with no agreement, the Union presented its first proposals concerning employment records and severability.  Following discussion of the Union’s proposals, the University put forward a comprehensive package proposal, representing a complete contract that the University said it was willing to sign immediately, or when the Union was ready.

The University explained that this proposed contract had many of the provisions that are found in other graduate union contracts, including economic increases, time off, holidays and parental leave, as well as funds for medical and dental assistance for stipended PhDs, workplace safety, non-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions, along with a comprehensive grievance process.  The parties then adjourned for the day.

A copy of the University’s proposed union contract can be viewed here.