Normally when this blog is dormant for long periods it's for some bullshit reason, like work or having a personal life. But this time, it's for something actually worthwhile.
As many readers already know, I'm part of a campaign to win recognition for Grad Student Workers United (GSWU-UAW). This is the 4th attempt to unionize graduate workers here at the University of Minnesota in the past 20 years. While previous campaigns have been defeated by administration misinformation and right-wing think tanks pouring money into defeating the union, this campaign is different.
We studiously poured over all available materials we could find from past campaigns to understand what went wrong and how we could avoid doing the same. And in that regard, we've been incredibly successful. We've had state and US senators and congressional representatives publicly state their support. The campus newspaper has come out in favor of the union. The graduate student government has come out in favor of a union, noting that student government can't negotiate with the university and instead only make recommendations the administration almost always ignores. Even a former Regent of the University has published an op-ed explaining why we need a union.
But most importantly, we've got a broad base of support across all disciplines and campuses. From chemical engineering to gender studies, from economics to aerospace, from sociology to mathematics, graduate workers in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth all demand a union.
And after three days of voting, early results are looking pretty good. But voting is still going on today and tomorrow, so the fight is far from over. Today the voting location is in my little corner of campus, so it's my day to turn out every single person on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota. Although we're all invested in the campaign and have worked all over every campus, there's some pride in making sure your corner of the world turns out in massive numbers, and you can bet your ass I'll make sure that happens.
So I'm off to spend the next 11 hours knocking on doors, making phone calls, and putting what feels like a couple thousand miles on my shoes as I pound the erudite pavement making sure we not only win, but win big and let the administration know it has no choice but to negotiate with us as equals and to respect the massive amounts of work we grad workers do to keep this university running.
I likely won't post again until next Tuesday after all the ballots have been counted and the results are official. I'm pretty optimistic that post will be the happiest I've ever written....