As teaching and research assistants from across North America gathered this weekend (July 22–25) for the annual meeting of the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions, the recent US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling earlier this month against students working at Brown University was a hot topic.

Attendee Maris Zivarts, a graduate student in biology at Yale and a member of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization—which also seeks to be recognized as a union—told The Scientist that delegates "overwhelmingly" voted to pass a resolution to use "all possible avenues" to reverse the decision and extend the benefits of unionization to graduate students.

He added that many graduate students also formed a picket line on Friday outside the New York offices of the NLRB to protest the decision. "There were a couple hundred graduate students walking in the rain," he said.

The decision, which applies to all private universities,...

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