Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS)

“On April 16, 1996, graduate employees at the University of Iowa (UI) in Iowa City voted 949 to 667 to certify the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) as their collective bargaining agent. The vote was the largest union victory in right-to-work Iowa in more than a decade and one of the largest nationwide in 1996. It transformed a homegrown organizing campaign—the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS)—into UE-COGS Local 896, a union representing over two thousand teaching and research assistants.” (John McKerley, “There Is Power In A Union,” 2016)

Graduate student Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants in History were actively involved in the COGS movement and in leadership of the union ever since unionization in 1996.

Documents on the history of COGS:

Leslie Taylor, Doug Anderson, and David Colman, “Student Union” The Nation (December 16,

Ryan Downing and Jennifer Sherer, eds., “Always Organize: Clippings from the UE Local 896-COGS COGNITION Archive” (2000)
“COGS: A Brief History of Your Union” (2011)
John W. McKerley, “There Is Power In A Union: A History of UE Local 896-COGS, 1999-2016” (2016)
John McKerley, “Organizing Within the Academy: The Campaign to Organize Graduate Students Turns Twenty,” LAWCHA LABORonline, (May 4, 2016)

Daily Iowan stories on COGS, 1993-2013