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Professor blackmailing he will not let me graduate - how to deal with this?

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If you are under a worker-union in the U.S., you are an employee.  

If you need a worker-union in the U.S., you are an employee. 


As long as you are receiving compensation for your time, you are a worker.  


Now, if we want to discuss the nuances between an employee and a worker, sure, we can do that, but if a lab is covering your tuition, your research, and providing you with a stipend in exchange for you producing results, then you are employed by that lab.  TAships may be a different story, I dunno. 


Isn't the UAW the United Autoworkers Union? And who pays their dues? 


I remember when community colleges in the State of California went from $7 credit/hour to $11 credit/hour.  This wasn't that long ago (so it was not like in the 1950s, as if I am that old) and CCs in other States where already well over $100 credit/hour in many places.  That fee increase was a huge deal.  I seriously thought students were going to riot over it, a $4 increase per credit.  Students were really upset over it and claimed that their dreams of higher education were now unaffordable.  


I moved to Minneapolis shortly after the above went down.  The local CC charged me $165 credit/hour as an in-State student. UC students are more successful because Californian's are more demanding (I myself am born and raised) in general.  How many Ivy League grad students are willing to go on strike during finals?  Perhaps a few, yet in the late 90s all of the then 8 UCs had striking grad students. 

Edited by Crucial BBQ
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I totally agree that we should be employees because we are performing work in exchange for money, but I was just referring to the legal ruling/decisions as others pointed out. 


UAW is indeed the United Auto Workers union. The members of a union pay dues to the union. I think it's a common misconception that your union's name has to be related to your work. The whole point of a union is to align your bargaining unit with a group that is powerful and has resources. When I worked for a car company, I was in the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union but the CAW also represents a lot of other companies that have nothing to do with the auto industry. I think this issue is something a lot of academics feel uncomfortable about, and sometimes schools form their own independent union rather than be a chartered local of a bigger union. This could also work but the point of aligning ourselves with a powerful entity is that they have the experience and access to lawyers, negotiators  etc. that we can use when necessary. A bunch of graduate students aren't going to be well trained in these aspects (and we have other things to worry about) so it's important that we "outsource" these tasks. In addition, the University will have hired experts to do this--I'd feel really uncomfortable if it was a bunch of grad students going up against professional union negotiators at our bargaining table! That's why we pay dues to hire the right people to represent us.


Of course, this assumes the union organizers did their due diligence in picking a union that is able to represent students! But the union's name has nothing to do with their ability to represent (e.g. an "Autoworkers" union is certainly capable of representing non-auto workers). It's important to examine the union's history and past successes/failures to determine that!

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I mean the UC students are a bit different because they have the bargaining power of UAW behind them, which has helped a lot. 


Students at other schools who have been ruled employees (and NLRB has not been consistent in this, they've ruled some grad students employees and unionizable and some not over the years, about 50/50) have been either in their own union (which lowers their bargaining power, tbh, or under the faculty/adjunct union, or with the staff.

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