The Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) is a group of graduate student teachers and researchers that is trying to be recognized as a union at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
The group's precursor, T.A. Solidarity, was founded in 1987. T.A. Solidarity members voted to affiliate with other campus unions in the Spring of 1990, seeking union recognition and collective bargaining, and adopting their current nomenclature. GESO members have participated in several strikes and walk-outs over the course of their sixteen-year history. In March, 2003, GESO members joined members of campus unions in a one week strike, in an attempt to gain recognition as a collective bargaining agent from the Yale University administration.
In April 2003, GESO held a voluntary, not legally binding, but highly controversial election under the supervision of the League of Women Voters, in which graduate students voted 694 to 651 against making GESO their collective bargaining agent. GESO later attributed the loss to an unexpectedly high number of science students turning out to vote. There is also evidence that a number of members did vote against their union in the ballot. There were also 27 write in ballots which stated that they supported the idea of unionization, but did not support GESO as that union.
In December 2005, GESO finally won a victory in their own elections, after denying the right to vote to any student who opposes unionization, and excluding all TAs from the natural sciences altogether. When asked why all of the TAs from the natural sciences were excluded, GESO publicity contact Rachel Sulkes said that they have "defined themselves as outside our interests".
GESO has since mounted campaigns over pay equity in the humanities and alleged human rights violations in the university's investment policies, while continuing to push for union recognition.
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