MU graduate employees file lawsuit against University over right to bargain collectively

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Coalition of Graduate Workers, an affiliate of the Missouri National Education Association, along with several graduate workers filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court against the University of Missouri.

The lawsuit challenges the university’s refusal to recognize and bargain with the coalition as the collective bargaining representative of graduate workers at the Columbia campus.

Since its formation in August of 2015, the coalition has repeatedly requested that the University either recognize it as the collective bargaining representative or hold an election to select such a representative. The Coalition of Graduate Workers is a union local representing approximately 2,700 graduate workers at the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. After the University refused their requests, the League of Women Voters held an election for collective bargaining representative.

A clear majority of the voters selected the coalition as their bargaining representative.

The University was informed of the outcome of the vote but still refuses to recognize and bargain with CGW.

“It is discouraging that the University has decided to spend scarce resources defending against such a lawsuit when it is free to sit down at the bargaining table to negotiate fair terms and conditions of employment of graduate workers,” Missouri NEA Pres. Charles E. Smith said in a news release. “Public universities in other states bargain with graduate workers. It is troubling that this University will not do so, particularly because, unlike elsewhere, the rights of all employees to collectively bargain are guaranteed by our State Constitution.”

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