Yesterday Georgetown expressed its desire to GAGE to come to terms on a private election agreement that would not be controlled by any National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision regarding graduate students’ employee status under the National Labor Relations Act. This means that Georgetown will respect our rights to vote for a union and, if the graduate workers vote in favor of unionization, collectively bargain a contract even if the NLRB reverses its earlier decision allowing graduate workers to unionize (Case 02-RC-143012).
This is a major step forward in our negotiations with Georgetown—and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of your hard work. Georgetown refused as recently as December 2017 to recognize our right as workers to decide for ourselves whether we want a union. Since then we have rallied on Red Square, circulated flyers at university events, and, most recently, bombarded President DeGioia’s office with hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters of support. We have seen that the administration responds to collective action from us and from our supporters in the wider Georgetown and DC community. Organizing works.
This latest announcement from the administration comes after a week of action in which graduate workers, together with alumni, undergraduates, university faculty and staff, and allies from the DC labor community, united to demand that President DeGioia live up to Georgetown’s values as a Catholic and Jesuit institution and respect the rights of graduate workers to unionize. This week would have culminated tonight as we planned a rally with our allies outside the GU Alumni Association’s Annual Service Recognition Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel with fellow labor unions, community groups and stakeholders to communicate Georgetown’s faltering commitment to worker rights and economic justice.
However, as a gesture of good faith, the Organizing Committee (OC) has decided to postpone our rally in anticipation of a signed agreement with Georgetown. We understand that a commitment is not an agreement, which is why this is a postponement and not a cancellation.
If the administration fails to follow through on the commitments they have made to us, we’ll respond using the tactics we know work so well—mobilizing our members and our supporters in the wider Georgetown and DC community to hold their feet to the fire.