Support from Penn Faculty

 

Statement of Faculty Support for GET-UP efforts:

As faculty members of the University of Pennsylvania, we welcome efforts being made by GET-UP to unionize the graduate student workers (GSWs) in our university. We believe that graduate students have the right to unionize, a right confirmed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). GET-UP has been active in organizing a union for over a decade now, and while their earlier effort was stymied by the then NLRB, recent NLRB rulings have allowed them to revive their mobilizing drive.

At a moment when federal and state administrators have begun to roll back hard won civic and collective rights in a number of areas, it is incumbent on universities to model a different understanding of the relations between administrators and workers, one that is visibly participatory, collective and democratic. We urge the faculty-administrators at our university to recognize the rights of GSWs to form a union that will address, and negotiate for, better working conditions. Such democratic procedures, we believe, will greatly enhance the quality of both education and life within our larger university community. We believe that this attempt to form a union, and to thus allow GSWs an organized mode of participation in the working of the university, is part of the mission of the university to prepare well-informed citizens, confident of their rights and obligations.

Some of our colleagues may be concerned that a GSW union will have an adverse impact on faculty-graduate student relations. We believe that the opposite is true. The GSW union will negotiate with the central administration of the university, not with individual faculty supervisors or even departmental administrators. Further, a recent study, published in ILR Review (a respected, peer-reviewed journal in labor studies) underlines the improvement in faculty-student relations that result from GSW unionization (“Effects of Unionization on Graduate Student Employees: Faculty-Student Relations, Academic Freedom, and Pay”). The authors note:

In cases involving unionization of graduate student research and teaching assistants at private U.S. universities, the National Labor Relations Board has, at times, denied collective bargaining rights on the presumption that unionization would harm faculty-student relations and academic freedom. . . . Unionization does not have the presumed negative effect on student outcomes, and in some cases has a positive effect. Union-represented graduate student employees report higher levels of personal and professional support, unionized graduate student employees fare better on pay, and unionized and nonunionized students report similar perceptions of academic freedom. These findings suggest that potential harm to faculty-student relationships and academic freedom should not continue to serve as bases for the denial of collective bargaining rights to graduate student employees.

Even as we recognize that our university offers better working conditions than many, we believe that many of us experience forms of vulnerability, even precarity, that need to be articulated and addressed. Penn is often a leader in instituting institutional mechanisms that affect the conditions of learning and of work; in this regard, the proposed GSW union will allow Penn to join the community of over 60 public universities and three private universities where a union strengthens the GSW collectivity as well as democratizes institutional functioning. As the GET-UP announcement states, the GSW union will advocate for the most vulnerable sections of the graduate student community. We urge our colleagues and administrators to join us in welcoming and supporting the efforts being made by GET-UP.

(Names in alphabetical order.)

  1. Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor, Department of Political Science
  2. Alison M. Buttenheim, Assistant Professor of Family and Community Health, School of Nursing
  3. Andrea Doyle, Assistant Professor, School of Social Policy and Practice
  4. Andrew Babson, Lecturer, Graduate School of Education
  5. Andrew Chignell, Professor of Philosophy
  6. Andrew Lamas, Lecturer, Urban Studies
  7. Anna Neighbor, Lecturer in Visual Studies and Undergraduate Fine Arts
  8. Anne Pomerantz, Senior Lecturer in Educational Linguistics, Graduate School of Education
  9. Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English and Comparative Literature
  10. Anne Norton, Professor of Political Science
  11. Anthea Butler, Associate Professor, Religion and Africana Studies
  12. Charles Bernstein, Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature
  13. Chi-ming Yang, Associate Professor of English
  14. Daniel Aldana Cohen, Associate Professor of Sociology
  15. Daniel J. Singer, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  16. David Barnes, Associate Professor of History & Sociology of Science
  17. David Kazanjian, Associate Professor of English
  18. Dawn Teele, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  19. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
  20. Ericka Beckman, Associate Professor of Romance Languages
  21. Errol Lord, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  22. Etienne Benson, Assistant Professor of History and Sociology of Science
  23. Ezekiel Dixon-Román, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
  24. Herman Beavers, Professor of English and Africana Studies
  25. Guobin Yang, Professor of Sociology and Communication
  26. Ian Lustick, Bess W. Heyman Chair of Political Science
  27. Jackie Tileston, Associate Professor of Fine Arts
  28. Jean-Michel Rabaté, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
  29. Jeffrey Green, Associate Professor of Political Science
  30. Jennifer Flores Sternad Ponce de León, Assistant Professor of English
  31. Jessa Lingel, Assistant Professor, Annenberg School for Communication
  32. Johanna K. P. Greeson, Assistant Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
  33. Joseph W. Kable, Associate Professor of Pyschology
  34. John Tresch, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science
  35. Jonathan D. Moreno, David and Lyn Silfen University Professor
  36. Josephine Park, Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies
  37. Julia Lynch, Associate Professor of Political Science
  38. Kaja Silverman, Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Professor of History of Art
  39. Kathleen D. Hall, Associate Professor of Education and Anthropology
  40. Kathleen M. Brown, David Boies Professor of History
  41. Krystal Strong, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
  42. Kevin M. F. Platt, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Humanities
  43. Lance Wahlert, Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine
  44. Lisa Miracchi, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  45. Luis Moreno Caballud, Associate Professor of Romance Languages
  46. Marie Gottschalk, Professor of Political Science
  47. Marybeth Gasman, Professor of Higher Education
  48. Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature
  49. Michael Gamer, Associate Professor of English
  50. Michael Nairn, Lecturer, Urban Studies
  51. Nancy Bentley, Donald T. Regan Professor of English
  52. Nancy J. Hirschmann, Professor of Political Science
  53. Nelson Flores, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
  54. Paul Saint-Amour, Professor of English
  55. Peter Stallybrass, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities
  56. Projit Bihari Mukharji, Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor, History & Sociology of Science
  57. Rand Quinn, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
  58. Ravi Radhakrishnan, Professor, Bioengineering, Chemical Biomolecular Engineering, Biochemistry, Biophysics
  59. Robert Moore, Senior Lecturer in Educational Linguistics, Graduate School of Education
  60. Robert P. Fairbanks II, Lecturer and Fellow, Urban Studies
  61. Robert Vitalis, Professor of Political Science
  62. Roberta Rehner Iversen, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
  63. Rudra Sil, Professor of Political Science
  64. Santoi Wagner, Senior Lecturer in Educational Linguistics, Graduate School of Education
  65. Sarah H. Kagan, Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing
  66. Scott Weinstein, Professor of Philosophy, Mathematics, and Computer Science
  67. Sebastián Gil-Riaño, Assistant Professor of the History and Sociology of Science
  68. Sharrona Pearl, Assistant Professor, Annenberg School of Communication
  69. Siyen Fei, Associate Professor of History
  70. Steven Hahn, Nichols Professor Emeritus of History
  71. Steven Weitzman, Professor, Religious Studies
  72. Susan Lindee, Janice and Julian Bers Professor of the History and Sociology of Science
  73. Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English
  74. Timothy Corrigan, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, English, and History of Art
  75. Toorjo Ghose, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
  76. Victor Pickard, Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication
  77. Yin-Ling Irene Wong, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
  78. Zachary Lesser, Professor of English

Are you a member of faculty at Penn who would like to add your signature to the statement in support of GET-UP? Please email penngetup@gmail.com from your @Penn address and include (i) the name of your endowed chair (if any) and (ii) your departmental affiliation.