Folklorists have a long history of engaging with and advocating for workers and workers’ rights, and the American Folklore Society supports workers’ rights to unionize and collectively bargain with their employers.
Currently, graduate student movements at campuses across the country, including our host institution, Indiana University, are struggling to get their considerable and wide-ranging labors recognized as labor and to improve the conditions of their work. Many such movements are emerging in the form of attempts to unionize and collectively bargain with university administrations, and graduate student strikes are becoming more common.
The American Folklore Society recognizes graduate students as an essential and valued part of our professional community, contributing to the vibrancy of our field both as scholars and as laborers. AFS encourages university administrators across the country to treat graduate students as workers worthy of respect, to abstain from taking any punitive measures against graduate students who pursue unionization or collective bargaining, and to engage directly with students and with their chosen union representatives to address grievances with due process and to find solutions.
Marilyn White, AFS President
Norma Elia Cantú, AFS Past President
On behalf of the AFS Executive Board
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