Rank and File Democracy Caucus

The caucus meets weekly in Bache Auditorium (Malott 228), Thursdays at 5PM. All CGSU members or Cornell community members who are interested in CGSU are welcome to come to our weekly meeting.


If you’d like to add to our news/events page, please write us!
Our FAQs and Issues & Demands pages are regularly updated with new information, so keep coming to check it out!

RFDC Announces a slate for candidates for the steering committee of CGSU

See details on our shared principles and positions, and individual statements from our candidates.

If you want to know more about what a slate is, check this out.


International Workers Day:

We want to give everyone greetings on international workers day. This is a day to remember that the rights and freedoms that we take for granted were won by long hard struggles. This is a day to remember that despite our difference, and our unique situations, there is sameness that connects what we are doing with workers across the country and world. This is a day to remember that the simple idea, of having a say in how decisions are made in the workplace, comes from and is part of a history. Finally, it is a day to recognize that it is only our voice, as a democratic union of workers, and not that of any body outside of us, that can protect our interest.


General Assembly:

The general assembly (GA) took place with about 60 in attendance Tuesday evening. The first hour and a half were spent discussing the election—many points brought up resonated with the concerns of the RFDC. The most important section of the meeting was the appeal of a grievance concerning conflicts of interest. Four months ago, a member filed a grievance to address the conflict of interest presented by elected members of CGSU’s Steering Committee (SC) being paid part-time by AFT. The conflict of interest is clear: CGSU and AFT are independent entities, and paying an elected leader of CGSU can, despite that person’s character or best intentions, compromise the independence of CGSU. There are a number of incidents during the recent campaign (most notably the seizure of CGSU’s email and website by AFT) that illustrate the practical importance of CGSU’s independence.

After four months of delay, CGSU’s Steering Committee dismissed this grievance, claiming that there was “no grievable action.” Under CGSU’s constitution, any grievance not resolved amicably must go before the membership: the GA can by majority vote decide to take any action to resolve the issue. The GA’s facilitators corralled discussion to limit the voting options to two: (1) SC members currently paid by AFT resign and a constitutional amendment addressing this issue be drafted, or (2) the Steering Committee’s dismissal of the grievance is upheld. Other suggested resolutions - for example, that any AFT employees on the SC serve out their current term, but that no AFT employee serve on the SC in the future - were dismissed. Given options (1) and (2), then, the GA voted for the latter.

A transcript of the minutes are available to CGSU members through CGSU’s website. Please email cgsu.rankandfile@gmail.com or cornellgsu@gmail.com if you’re a member and want to know the password.


Open Forum (All are welcome)

Time/place: Monday, April 24th from 4-6pm Ives 217

The primary objective of Cornell Graduate Students United (CGSU) is to unite graduate students to collectively advocate for our rights as workers. This cannot be done effectively without member input and participation. RFDC strongly and actively supports the provision of open forums such as that planned for this Monday, at Ives Hall, as well as the accompanying survey to collect your feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the organizing campaign, your thoughts on where to go from here, our affiliation with state and national unions, and your general impressions of CGSU as a whole.

Please take 5 - 10 minutes to share your feedback with CGSU


The next CGSU General Assembly is at 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 18th, 2017. The location is G10 Biotech.

The CGSU Steering Committee election is coming up! The role of Steering Committee members are described here. Please also consider nominating yourself for the election committee, which is the body that runs and ensures a fair election. You can do so by emailing CGSU.


The CGSU recognition election of March 2017 was inconclusive, with 856 yes votes, 914 no votes, and 86 challenged ballots. While it’s clear that CGSU is behind in the vote count, the election result has still not been certified by the arbitrator at the time of this writing. We believe CGSU could have conducted a better, more member-driven campaign, but we also believe it was clear that Cornell Administration engaged in election misconduct by sending out several emails that violated federal labor law and the code of conduct signed between the administration and CGSU.

The CGSU Organizing Committee has been discussing, for the past two weeks, how to proceed with the legal and organizing challenges currently facing CGSU. The OC has been divided as to how to proceed. Some of our caucus supporters advocated for bringing the issue of how to proceed to the general membership as our Constitution requires. Several other members of the OC insisted that the OC has the power to make the decision, and some have even advocated suspending the constitution. We believe that CGSU membership can and should be informed of and engaged in making the critical decisions facing us both in the legal and organizing domains. RFDC is committed to this and we encourage you to get involved and help us ensure CGSU is a democratic, member-driven union!

Contact Us

Interested in joining us/learning more? All CGSU members or Cornell community members who are interested in CGSU are welcome at our weekly meeting.