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Graduate students push for collective bargaining

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Graduate students at the University of Hawaii want the right to bargain as a state employee unit.

The Graduate Student Organization says it’s closer to being able to negotiate working conditions and salary increases because of a bill before the state Legislature.

The bill would remove a restriction that currently prohibits graduate students from negotiating their contracts. The Hawaii Government Employees Association and other unions have joined with the graduate students in supporting the bill.

GSO President Anjali Nath issued a press release urging lawmakers to support House Bill 2859. She says without a proper channel for grievance, graduate assistants can do little to express their opinions or protect themselves from employer abuse.

Nath says graduate assistant pay scales haven’t increased in eight years, despite increased teaching loads.

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