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Portland State University Graduate Employees File for Union Recognition

Overwhelming majority comes together to fight for the university Portlanders deserve

Friday, May 6, 2016

Contact: Jan Van Tol / 585-764-4202 / Andrew Gorry / 971-888-5665 /

PORTLAND, OR -- Graduate employees at Portland State University are seeking recognition of their union, the Graduate Employees Union (GEU), AFT/AAUP. Yesterday, they filed a petition for representation with the Oregon Employment Relations Board, supported by authorization cards signed by an overwhelming majority of graduate research, teaching, and administrative assistants at the university.

Travis Glick, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, explained why PSU grads have organized a union. “Graduate employee involvement in teaching, research, and administration is essential to PSU operations. I love the work I do, but our role in the education process is currently undervalued and needs to be recognized and embraced through adequate compensation and better working conditions.”

“We expect to be certified by the Employment Relations Board in the next couple of weeks, and we’re looking forward to sitting down and negotiating a contract with the PSU administration,” said Emily Wiant, a graduate administrative assistant in the Center for Public Service.

Graduate employees at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University have been organized with the American Federation of Teachers for many years.

“Someone doing my job at UO or OSU is in a far better position than those of us working here in Portland,” said Wiant. “We’re organizing for the same respect and compensation as our fellow grads around the state.”

GEU is jointly affiliated with American Federation of Teachers and American Association of University Professors, and represents approximately 800 graduate assistants at Portland State University.