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May 18, 2017

Graduate students at Tufts University have voted to unionize. The vote comes after the National Labor Relations Board ruled last summer that students who teach and do research at private universities have the right to organize.

Following the 129-to-84 vote to join the Service Employees International Union, student representatives said that while they are students first they're also Tufts employees.

“Coming together to form a union gives Tufts graduate students a clear way to make sure all of us are compensated and treated fairly,” Anna Phillips, a Ph.D. student in Physics at Tufts, said in a statement. “I am proud of today’s win and looking forward to graduate students having a seat at the table for decisions that impact our ability to do the teaching and research that we love.”

But private universities argue that research and teaching are an essential part of graduate education and that classifying students as employees will increase costs and change the nature of academic life.

Earlier this month, Brandeis students also voted to unionize.

A similar vote at Harvard has been mired in a dispute over ballots.

Earlier: At Harvard, Union Organizing In The Ivory Tower

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