Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren endorses Pitt grad students’ efforts to unionize | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren endorses Pitt grad students’ efforts to unionize

click to enlarge Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren
Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh have been fighting for years to form a union, and have garnered support from local and state politicians.

But they just nabbed their biggest yet. Today, presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted out her support for Pitt grad students' effort to unionize. In a video, she said she's been following the grad students’ organizing campaign and is supporting them as the vote to organize approaches.

Warren has long been a champion of student issues like reducing college debt. She has said she supports her campaign workers if they wished to unionize, and her platform includes plans to institute universal childcare and to break up large tech companies.

“Your voices are important and I want to see you win this one,” said Warren in the video. “I am behind you 100 percent.”
The University of Pittsburgh administration was claiming grad students didn't have the legal right to organize a union since they're classified as students. But a March 7 Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board ruling found that 2,000 teaching assistants, teaching fellows, graduate assistants, and graduate student researchers did, in fact, have the right to organize.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) also lent his support to the grad students’ efforts. “I’m fighting to make it easier for workers to join a union and collectively bargain,” tweeted Pocan. "A strong labor movement means a strong economy, so I'm very excited for University of Pittsburgh graduate student employees to vote for their union next week.”
The union voting dates for Pitt grad students are from April 15-18.

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