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Page 2 | Ka Leo | Monday, Feb. 27 2012

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GSO members pushing collective bargaining bill The bill was introduced at the end of January, and since then, the GSO has been seeking individuals to submit testimony. Both the House Committee on Labor and Public Graduate student workers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa have not received a salary in- Employment and the House Committee on Higher crease since 2004 because they cannot organize to Education passed the measure. The bill passed its second hearing and was referred to the Finance advocate for their rights. Committee on Feb. 17. Now, members of The UH System is the third-largthe UH Mānoa Graduest-earning company and the thirdate Student Organizahighest employer in the state, emtion are urging the ploying over 8,000 people. There Finance Committee are 5,800 graduate students, and to schedule a hearabout 20 percent of those are ing for House Bill estimated to be employed by 2859, which supports the university. graduate student em“Many of these workers ployees’ rights to colare low-paid graduate stulective bargaining. dents who are teaching and “HB 2859 offers an researching. Some are lowinvaluable opportunity er-paid lecturers,” said forfor Hawai‘i to recognize mer GSO president Sharain the value of accessible Naylor. “All of us contribute higher education while to the state economy now. upholding its constitutional And all of us pay significommitment to collective cantly more in fees, tuition bargaining,” GSO president and the cost of living, but Anjali Nath said. “Healthier have not received a proand respected graduate stuportional boost in our meadent employees can help to creger earnings.” ate a stronger and more successDue to recent budget cutful University of Hawai‘i System.” backs, UH Mānoa eliminatHB 2859 would remove an imed office and administrative pediment to forming a union by positions, further limiting taking graduate students employed employment opportunities of by UH off the list of state employees graduate students. statutorily barred from inclusion in “Faculty and staff are able an appropriate bargaining unit. Curto collectively bargain, but it rently, graduate students are classifi ed is flat-out illegal for students as “student help” and cannot organize. to do so in Hawai‘i. Collective If passed, the bill would be effective bargaining is a value of the starting July 1. people in Hawai‘i,” said Naylor. “Hawai‘i’s public universities de“As a state, we need to ensure pend on student labor, but the state’s students’ basic needs are met current collective bargaining laws deny NICHOLAS SMITH / KA LEO O HAWAI‘I so all students can focus on their students ordinary, reasonable worker education, earn degrees and then give back to rights,” said Amy Donahue, Ph.D. and former GSO Advocacy Committee chair. “The currently our communities through our contributions in the workunequal treatment afforded by the state to student force outside of the university system.” The heads of the Labor and Public Employment workers negatively affects graduate student fi nancial health, and in some cases leads to lifelong fi - and Higher Education committees did not respond to emails requesting comments on the bill. nancial distress, including poverty conditions.”

EMI A IKO Associate News Editor

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