What is a strike?
A strike is when a group of workers plan together to not go to work on the same day, or days. It is also known as a concerted work stoppage. To qualify as a strike, it must be concerted, or organized within a group of workers. If many GTAs individually decided to cancel work to attend a political event at the Kansas Statehouse, that would not be a strike. If GTAC officers planned a day in which GTAs scheduled to work instead refused to work, that would be a concerted work stoppage. A concerted work stoppage is illegal under both state law and our employment contract. While we endorse this student strike, we are not also calling for a GTA strike.
Is the KU Labor Day Student Strike an illegal strike?
No. Only public workers are barred from striking by Kansas law, just as they are barred from striking in Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, Virginia, and West Virginia. The KU Labor Day Student Strike was organized by undergraduate students at the University of Kansas, not by workers. This student strike is an act of political expression, thereby protected under the First Amendment.
How can I support the KU Labor Day Student Strike?
First, by signing this petition. Next, by letting your students know that you support this action. Finally, by working with them to accommodate their absence, just as you would for any other type of absence for Fall 2020.
Can I participate in the KU Labor Day Student Strike?
- If you are a GTA who is enrolled in a course which meets on Labor Day, you can choose to participate with no consequence to your work as a GTA.
- If you are a GTA who teaches a course which is scheduled to meet on Labor Day, our contract requires that you comply with all departmental practices for canceling a class, moving a class, or otherwise being absent from a class.
- Many GTAs have the power to reschedule or cancel their classes.
- If your department has a written policy which is used by GTAs, you should follow that policy.
- If your department has no written policy, you may follow whatever traditional practices are in place.
- If your department has a written policy which is not followed, you should instead follow whatever traditional practices are in place.
What if following my departmental policy means that I can’t reschedule or move my class?
If your departmental policy says that you must seek permission and permission is denied, and you choose to participate in the KU Labor Day Student Strike, you could be at risk of discipline. This chart details the steps taken before you can be disciplined for student strike participation. This chart details the discipline process itself.
My chair has scheduled a meeting because of this absence. What do I do?
As a union worker, you have the right to have a union steward by your side in any meeting which is investigatory or disciplinary in nature, or which could become investigatory or disciplinary. Your supervisor or chair must wait to have the meeting until a GTAC steward is available. If you need a GTAC steward, reach out to the Grievance Chair Hannah Bailey by email. If it’s an emergency, reach out to President Neill Kennedy at 785-817-0351.
Oh no! I already had a disciplinary meeting but didn’t know my union rights. What do I do now?
If you are disciplined for participating in this event, please ceach out to the Grievance Chair Hannah Bailey by email. If it’s an emergency, reach out to President Neill Kennedy at 785-817-0351.
Wow! This seems like so much work for our union. How does all of this work?
Work takes people! People like you. Join our union and volunteer for free steward training today.