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Duke Grad Workers Seek Election to Secure Freedom to Unionize

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Graduate workers at Duke University have filed for an NLRB election after Duke declined to voluntarily recognize the growing majority of the university’s 2,500 PhD student workers who are exercising their freedom to join together in union to have a collective voice in determining pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Show your solidarity with Duke grad workers!

“We are disappointed and yet unsurprised that the administration failed to stand with its workers,” said Lauren Jenkins, a graduate worker in the Nicholas School of the Environment, in a press release published by the Duke Graduate Students Union (DGSU). "While we continue to hope Duke will learn from their mistakes, we will win no matter what they do.”

"We stand with Duke graduate student workers," said NC State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan in a statement published on social media. "We call on Duke University to stop the union-busting and live up to the ideals espoused in its mission statement including its "commitment to learning, freedom and truth."

We stand with @dukegradunion and call on @DukeU to stop its union-busting and respect the freedom of graduate workers to join together in union!

— NC State AFL-CIO // #CountMeIn (@NCStateAFLCIO) March 8, 2023

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Duke's history of union busting is well documented, transparent, and predictable -- so much so that DGSU produced a Union-Busting Bingo Card to help grad workers see through the charade of gas lighting and concern trolling already coming from university administrators.

Case in point is a letter​ that Duke sent to doctoral students and faculty claiming grad workers are only "selected" for their "potential to be exceptional scholars," to which one Ph.D.​ student responded on Twitter​​ that, "Unfortunately, my 'potential to be an exceptional scholar' doesn’t pay the bills."

Learn more about the Duke Graduate Students Union at​​