KU grad students turn to union for protection from Obamacare

Katherine Timpf
Reporter

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  • The University of Kansas says it may limit grad students to 20 hours of work per week to avoid providing health insurance to its grad students.
  • Students are attempting to revive a defunct union to protect them from the cuts.
  • University of Kansas (KU) graduate students are attempting to resurrect a long-inactive union to protect them against losing work hours due to Obamacare.

    The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health insurance to employees working 30 or more hours per week — and KU has announced it may limit students’ to 20 hours per week in order to avoid the cost.

    "We need real input. We're real employees. We're grown people."   

    Hundreds of students have responded with petitions to protest the policy according to the Lawrence Journal World, a local news source — but some have decided that that is not enough, and are seeking the backing of the Graduate Teaching Assistants Union.

    The union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, has long been inactive on campus but the potential hour cuts have inspired attempts to resurrect it.

    "It was clear we didn't really have a voice," Laurie Petty, a Ph.D. student in sociology, told the World.

    Diane Goddard, KU vice provost for administration and finance, assured the students involved that the school would consider their input — but the students say they need a union to ensure that their opinions are taken seriously.

    “We need a strong union," said Shane Wilson, another Ph.D. student in sociology. "We need real input. We're real employees. We're grown people."

    Wilson said he himself has signed up about 20 members himself since April, and the group is actively working to recruit more.

    Both Wilson and Petty will be involved in negotiations with the school.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter @kctimpf

    Katherine Timpf

    Katherine Timpf

    Reporter

    Katherine Timpf is a columnist at Campus Reform. Previously, Timpf worked as a reporter, web editor, and radio personality at The Washington Times. She was also an anchor for NASA's alternative radio station, Third Rock Radio.

    Timpf has appeared on national television news shows, including  America Live with Megyn Kelly and Fox and Friends, and her stories have been featured on several national news outlets, including the Drudge Report. She has been an op ed contributor to publications including the Orange County Register and Investor's Business Daily.

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