Cornell’s not an unfair employer: I am content with the support that Cornell has given me — it’s not perfect and it’s not the most fair but compared to the situation of other graduate students in the US, it is definitely favorable. Also, I can’t expect my PhD experience to be smooth sailing, right?
Nevertheless, I am disappointed with the amount of misinformation about union representation. In my office alone, my peers who help out with CGSU are not even fully informed about the benefits Cornell offers them and/or how CGSU will collect fees. For example, my conversations with CGSU representatives in my department: “We (graduate students) want to have a voice.” 2 graduate students actually sit on the board of trustees at Cornell and on the general committee. “Cornell will pay for the union fees.”, later clarified that “What I meant is that the raise in stipend will cover it.” Then later “We will bargain with Cornell so that they will cover the fees.” To me, it seems that CGSU reps don’t really know where they stand.
Healthcare is cheaper abroad: It’s cheaper for international grad students to travel home to seek medical care than to seek for it in the US. CGSU rep. appeared to put the blame on Cornell as it did not support international grad students on this matter. I think it’s unfair for the CGSU rep. to say this given that it’s the problem with American health care in general — it doesn’t apply to international grad students at Cornell only. I do hope that those international grad students who believed this know that this applies to the whole of the US.