University of Alaska, grad students move step closer to union agreement

FastCast morning digital headlines for Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023.
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 3:07 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2023 at 3:16 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A new union representing graduate student employees with the University of Alaska is one step closer to becoming reality.

Representatives with the university and the Alaska Graduate Workers Association — which is part of the United Auto Workers — signed a settlement agreement Wednesday that defines those eligible to be part of a new graduate student employee union, which would include a bargaining team of grad students and a union election this fall.

According to the AGWA-UAW, student representatives filed for union authorization cards in February with the Alaska Labor Relations Agency, and by March had picked up enough interest — 30% “showing of interest” count — to continue negotiations.

UA officials said that over two days of mediation, the ALRA decided to side with the university and not to include undergraduate students and staff employees at the bargaining table.

The next step, according to the graduate workers association, is for the student employees to vote to confirm a majority choice to form a union.