Fordham Faculty Petition

Father McShane and the Fordham University Board of Trustees

To the Faculty of Fordham University:

On Monday, February 28, Fordham Graduate Student Workers filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a union election, and members of the organizing committee delivered a letter to Father McShane asking the administration to remain neutral and to move forward without delay. We undertook this action on the basis of overwhelming support for a union among graduate student employees, a supermajority of whom signed union cards with us in the span of two weeks.

This is a historic move for our university, one that will materially improve the lives of all graduate student employees. As outlined by our Vision Statement, FGSW will negotiate to create formal grievance structures, to extend funding due to the pandemic, to enhance protections for international students, and to secure better pay, comprehensive healthcare, and childcare accommodations. With the support and protection of our union, graduate student employees will be better equipped to carry out our work for the university and contribute to our shared mission to foster the intellectual and moral growth of the entire Fordham community.

In light of the many questions surrounding unionization, including the rights of faculty members and how unionization may affect graduate students’ relationships with Fordham faculty and administration, we have created an FAQ to address prominent concerns, and we encourage faculty members to reach out to FGSW with further questions. According to the National Labor Relations Act, faculty members are legally considered supervisors and as such must abide by the NLRB’s supervisory guidelines during union organizing campaigns and elections. While these guidelines stipulate that supervisors may not make threats or promises towards graduate student employees, supervisors may freely express their support for graduate student workers’ organizing. In fact, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has consistently and vocally supported graduate unionization struggles, recognizing that an organized and empowered graduate workforce helps to secure greater justice and freedom in American universities. In our own city, faculty at NYU and Columbia have recently supported graduate union organizing and urged their administrations to enter into good faith negotiations. Now, as faculty, you are more than our supervisors: you are also our instructors, co-workers, and mentors. We ask that you stand in solidarity with us as we follow in the footsteps of our co-workers in Fordham Faculty United and our colleagues in graduate employee unions across the country.

We urge all faculty to voice support for our unionization and to charge the university to remain neutral during our election process and enter into good faith negotiations. Fordham faculty, recognizing the vital role that adjuncts serve and their unjust working conditions, overwhelmingly voiced support to the administration for Fordham Faculty United’s unionization efforts in 2017, citing the need for solidarity among employees of the university and the integrity of workplace recognition to the University’s mission of service for others. We encourage you to do the same now for graduate student employees by signing the letter below.

In solidarity,

Fordham Graduate Student Workers Organizing Committee

To: Father McShane and the Fordham University Board of Trustees
From: [Your Name]

Father McShane and the Fordham University Board of Trustees:

We, the undersigned faculty of Fordham University, support Fordham Graduate Student Workers’ (FGSW-CWA) right to unionize and urge the administration of Fordham University to remain neutral and move forward with an election without delay. As a Jesuit institution, Fordham is compelled to follow Catholic teachings of social justice and to uphold the Church’s social teaching that affirms the rights of workers to unionize. When the administration agreed to the Fordham Faculty United election in 2017, Father McShane stated that, due to our “Jesuit traditions and historic connection to first-generation and working-class students, Fordham has a special duty [to respect the right of employees to unionize],” and the administration agreed to neutrality and a NLRB election. We urge them to do the same for graduate student workers.

Graduate student employees are essential workers in our university. They teach classes, conduct research, and provide service for our departments. Without them, Fordham could not fulfill its stated mission to develop the intellectual and moral growth of its students. As things currently stand, the unmet needs of Fordham’s graduate student workers inhibit their ability to fulfill this mission. The toll of these unmet needs—such as financial precarity, under-insurance, overwork, and inadequate institutional support—on graduate student mental and physical health is well documented and well known by administrators. By remaining neutral and entering good faith negotiations with FGSW-CWA, Fordham recognizes the ability of the union to advocate for graduate student employees’ needs and demonstrates its commitment to cura personalis, the care of the whole person.


Amanda Armstrong-Price
Claire Gherini
Andrew H. Clark
Glenn Hendler
Christopher GoGwilt
Nicholas Smyth
Liz Raposa
Shellae Versey
Selin Gulgoz
Lindsay Hoyt
Leah Feuerstahler
Andrew Albin
Haruka Minami
Elissa Aminoff
Gregory Donovan
Guillermo Severiche
Lise Schreier
Esther Lomas-Sampedro
Mohamed Alsiadi
Carl Fischer
Alessia Valfredini
Jeannine Hill Fletcher
Iuri Moscardi
James Kim
Lauren Jopajtic
Eunji Kim
Maria Ebner
Kristina Jacobs
Kathleen LaPenta
Dean McKay
Chris Conway
Cynthia Vich
Arancha Sanz Alvarez
Vicente Rubio-Pueyo
Laura Specker Sullivan
Michael Latour
Jeanne Flavin
Mark Naison
Reiko Matsuda Goodwin
Samantha Iyer
Goutam Gajula
Nana Osei-Opare
Chris Dietrich
Aseel Sawalha
Daniela Pila
Kirsten Swinth
Daniel Durkin
Shonni Enelow
Aristotle Papanikolaou
Asif Siddiqi
Cristina Traina
Corey McEleney
Maria Farland
Johanna Quinn
Julie Kim
Anne Fernald
Eric Jarosinski
Rufus Burnett
Leo Guardado
George Demacopoulos
Jason Munshi-South
Laura Wernick
Gregory Farmer
Anne Hoffman
Oswaldo Benavides
Silvana Patriarca
Garrett Broad
Wolfgang Mueller
Stephen Sohn
Jeffrey Flynn
Evon Hekkala
Diane George
Crystal Colombini
Olivia Wood
Cristiana Sogno
Stephen Johnson
Ralf Hepp
Daisy Deomampo
Samir Haddad
Elizabeth Stone
Vivian Lu
Joshua Schapiro
Ashar Foley
Kathryn Reklis
Matthew Weinshenker
Cornelius Collins
Giorgio Pini
Nina Horisaki-Christens
Melanie McGrath Knuts
Karen Siedlecki
Janis Barry
Kara Van Cleaf
Lisa M. Gill, Ph.D,
Allison Pfingst
Katherina Fostano
Ian Singleton
Brenna Moore
Emanuel Fiano
Sophie Mitra
Jasun Gong
Christopher Vicari
Brandy Monk-Payton
Britta Ingebretson
Nora Lester Murad
Bradford Hinze
Nora Lester Murad
Sarah Elizabeth Penry
Lauri Goldkind
Christiana Zenner
Katherine Wilson
Laurie Lambert
Elisabeth Wickeri
Falguni Sen
Mary Callaway
Carey Kasten
John Drummond
Lori Wolff
Diana Kamin
Suzanne Uzzilia
John Seitz
Patricia Romero
Ellen van Wilgenburg
Ayala Fader
Lewis Freeman
Joshua Jordan
Maria Biskup
Judith Jones
Mary Erler
Amy Seymour
Liam Baranauskas
Chris Rhomberg
Sharif Mowlabocus
James McCartin
David Budescu
Jenny Meyer
Santiago Mejia
Elisabeth Frost
Michelle Rufrano
Shiloh Whitney
Nina Rowe
Jhilam Iqbal
Christine Fountain
Heining Cham
Theirry Rigogne
Thomas Massaro, S.J.
Brian Johnson
Emily Rosenbaum
Christopher Gowans
Micki McGee
Laura Ponziani
Dennis Tyler
Alison Rivers
Joshua Brown
Tiffany Yip
Karina Martin Hogan
Chris Brandt
Sarit Kattan Gribetz
Peggy Andover
Kari Evanson