In 2005, I traveled out to the University of Minnesota to help my father Gene Elk, the now-retired United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) Director of Organization, as the UE attempted to organize graduate employees at the University of Minnesota. However, the effort was unsuccessful.
It was one of six unsuccessful organizing efforts of graduate employees at the University since 1974. As recently, as 2012, 62% of graduate employees at the University of Minnesota voted against unionizing.
Now, UE has won the vote at the University of Minnesota by a margin of 97%. Something big has changed in this country.
“The energy among grad workers this week was palpable. This victory is a testament to the workers who have taken the time to imagine what is possible and how much stronger we are together” said Graduate worker Yusra Murad.