Myth vs. Reality: The Truth About Unions
SUNY RF Tries to Bust Our Union
Despite the fact that a clear majority of RAs at Stony Brook have already signed up for the union, the SUNY Research Foundation has decided to spend scarce research funds to try and bust our union. Their anti-union campaign seems to come straight from some of the more aggressive union-busting law firms that specialize in keeping workers without union protections. “Union busting” law firms try and dissuade workers from coming together into a union. These expert union busters “coach” employers on how to maintain a non-union workforce. They typically charge about $800 per hour (that’s about $32,000 per week for a full time attorney).
What does the RF get for this money? They get a “road map” on how to bust the union. SUNY’s RF will spread the following misinformation:
- The union is a “third party.”
- The union only cares about dues.
- The employer will “lose flexibility”
- Negotiations are like “gambling” where wages and benefits can go either up or down.
- Employees should give the employer a “second chance” to make improvement.
It usually doesn’t matter who the employer is –the message is always the same. We invite all RAs to do their own research. Type in “union buster” into any search engine and you will come across these same arguments.
Remember, the facts clearly show that whenever graduate employees get together and form unions, our wages go up, and our benefits improve. In fact, there is no exception to this rule! No amount of RF distortions can change these facts.
Myth vs. Reality: The Truth About Unions
1) RF Myth: A union could create delays in hiring and jeopardize projects because sponsors may decide to work with non-unionized employers at other universities where such delays may not be encountered.
Reality Check: This is just a scare tactic. Tens of thousands of employees on grant money are represented by unions. Researchers at Univ. of California, Rutgers, UMDNJ, etc, are represented by various unions (including CWA). There is not one piece of evidence that unions create any delays.
2) RF Myth: RF employees currently receive benefits and protections comparable to their State counterparts without having to join a union and pay dues or agency fees.
Reality Check: The simple fact is that RAs did not have employer-paid health insurance until the GSEU won this benefit (in the early 1990s) for its members. A few weeks after this victory, the RF “found” the funds to provide health benefits to RAs. RAs have health insurance because of the union.
But TAs and Gas have a better deal even now. TAs & GAs get waivers for fees, but not the RAs. Why is that?
3) RF Myth: The union is a “third party.”
Reality Check: The union is not a third party. We –the RAs at Stony Brook—will run our union in a democratic fashion. We will elect our own representatives; we will vote on all contracts, we will elect a bargaining committee, etc. We are the union!
4) RF Myth: The union may force RAs to strike.
Reality Check: This is not true. RAs can only strike if a majority of RAs at Stony Brook vote to strike. No outside party can ever make us do anything. It is also important to realize that contracts are settled without even the THREAT of a strike 98% of the time.
5) RF Myth: The SUNY RF wants a secret ballot election, the union doesn’t want a secret ballot election.
Reality Check: The SUNY RF is using the “secret ballot” argument as a smokescreen for their real hope, which is to delay our election by months –potentially years –by taking advantage of the anti-union BUSH Labor Board. The union wants a SPEEDY secret ballot election. We believe the SUNY RF wants a DELAYED election. If the RF is serious about having a speedy secret ballot election, then they will agree to one that takes place within 10 days. Let’s have an election now, not in a year!
Will the SUNY RF agree to a debate with us?
We don’t think even the SUNY RF believes their anti-union rhetoric!
We call upon the RF to a debate on campus. The union will pay for all costs associated with this debate. Anytime. Anyplace.
Universities are supposed to be about the search for truth in an open, intellectually honest environment. Let’s have a free exchange of ideas based on fact, not half-truths and myths. Does the RF have the courage of their convictions?
We are RESEARCHERS after all! Can the RF’s assertions stand up to PEER REVIEW? Will the RF agree to a debate?
We await their response.