An open letter on why UE and what it stands for cannot represent MIT graduate students
Fellow MIT Graduate Students,
On April 4–5, we will vote on whether we wish for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) to represent us. Voting yes would bind us for years to come to UE, an organization that, in addition to being a fiscally irresponsible choice, holds many positions that are unrepresentative of MIT graduate students. To list just a few:
They do not support nuclear power.
They denounce collaborations with U.S. allies such as Israel and Japan.
They support Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, claiming that “the U.S. government and media continue to vilify his government as a ‘dictatorship.’” Needless to say, there is no media conspiracy. According to a piece in The New York Times, the “Maduro administration has been responsible for… plunging the country into a deep humanitarian crisis. … He has also attempted to crush the opposition by jailing or exiling critics, and using lethal force against anti-government protesters.”
They were against the expansion of NATO and Obama's support of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, which overthrew Putin’s puppet government in Ukraine. Even after Russia invaded Ukraine, they have maintained their anti-NATO sentiment.
These positions range from ill-advised to downright abhorrent; even more concerning is the way in which their documents (some of which are linked above) distort facts, history, and context in order to advance their propaganda.
Regardless of how much autonomy we may or may not have as a local chapter, we cannot in good conscience affiliate with or financially support such an organization (we would be paying them approximately $2 million per year, nearly half of their current annual budget). We urge all graduate students to carefully consider not only whether they are willing to financially and reputationally strengthen UE, but also whether they are willing to force their fellow graduate students and graduate students for years to come to do the same.
If the vote passes, it would be extremely difficult for us to divorce ourselves from UE in the future, as our relationship with MIT would legally be through UE. A vote no is not a vote against unionization in general but merely against our unionizing with UE and would preserve our ability to unionize in the future, either as an independent union or as part of a different national one.
UE is morally, financially, and intellectually bankrupt. Whether we join them will be determined by a simple majority of those who vote. Regardless of your opinion, share this letter or otherwise inform your fellow graduate students about UE’s policy positions so that everyone can cast an informed vote.
If you would like to sign our open letter, please do so at https://tinyurl.com/NotWithUE.
Signed by (as of press time):
Alexander Siegenfeld, Physics PhD Candidate
Akiva Gordon, Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate
Bernardo Aceituno, Mechanical Engineering PhD Candidate
Tal Sneh, EECS PhD Candidate
Adina Bechhofer, EECS PhD Student
Sabrina Corsetti, EECS PhD Student
Ethan Klein, Nuclear Science and Engineering PhD Candidate
Adam Block, Mathematics PhD Candidate
Navid Abedzadeh, EECS PhD Candidate
Duc Hoang, Physics PhD Student
Jeff Krupa, Physics PhD Candidate
Charlotte Dai, Chemical Engineering PhD Student
Michael Cantara, Physics PhD Candidate
Ariel Attias, Civil Engineering PhD Student
Matthew R. Dobbins, Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate
Nicholas Jones, EECS PhD Student
Enric Boix, EECS PhD Student
Ethan Lake, Physics PhD Candidate
Joshua Ramette, Physics PhD Candidate
Matthew Yeung, EECS PhD Student
Jackson Mejia, Economics PhD Student
Kevin Wang, AeroAstro PhD Candidate
Alex Mallery, EECS PhD Candidate
Eric Moreno, Physics PhD Student
Noa Paladi, Physics PhD Candidate
Brandon Tran, Mathematics PhD ’20
Emma Campbell-Mohn, Political Science SM ’22
Michael DeMarco, Physics PhD ’22
Dahlia Klein, Physics PhD ’21
Evan Zayas, Physics SM ’19