As the election dates for the unionization vote draw closer, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 announced his support for Cornell Graduate Students United in a statement Tuesday.
“I support Cornell Graduate Students United and I’m endorsing a ‘yes’ vote in support of democracy and workers’ rights next week,” the statement read.
Myrick commented on what a graduate student union could bring not only to the University but to the entire city, pointing to the fact that Cornell is the largest employer in Tompkins County.
“I respect the right of our employees to join together and represent their common interests, and I expect the same from Cornell, our biggest employer,” his statement read.
Myrick added that unionization would serve to strengthen both the University and the city of Ithaca, because the “fair labor and employment conditions for grad workers can make our city and Cornell stronger and more cohesive.”
Paul Berry, grad, a member of CGSU, expressed that this public support from Myrick not only was impactful for CGSU but also reflected Myrick’s commitment to workers’ rights.
“It’s an inspiring demonstration of support from the Mayor of Ithaca and we’re very pleased to receive his endorsement,” Berry said. “Mayor Myrick has been a strong supporter of workers’ rights in Ithaca and in Tompkins County for a long time, as long as I’ve been here and known him as mayor.”
Berry added that this statement could influence voters in the peak of CGSU’s campaign since Myrick is both an alumnus and a prominent local figure.
“Being a Cornell alum, I think is certainly a major point, considering he’s a major public figure in the area and also someone who’s very familiar with how Cornell works as an institution from the inside,” Berry said. “There are some voters who are still making up their minds and I think it’s helpful to get such a strong statement from a local politician as opposed to the statements we get from the Cornell management.”
The unionization effort — the product of three years of organization — will come to a vote early next week on Monday March 27 and Tuesday March 28.