PLRB upholds results that grad student union vote failed


As the end of voting in the faculty union election nears on Oct. 12, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board has decided to uphold the results of the April 2019 graduate student union elections, where students ultimately voted to not unionize.

A University spokesman said Oct. 5 that Pitt continues to be committed to its graduate students despite the ruling.

“As always, the University remains deeply committed to supporting graduate and professional students, as seen in our support of students who have been affected by the global pandemic,” the spokesman said.

The United Steelworkers, the legal representatives of the graduate student and faculty unionization efforts, said it would appeal the decision. 

"The USW is already in the process of appealing this decision, as we firmly believe that interference from the administration tainted the graduate workers' election process. Graduate workers deserve what all workers at Pitt deserve – a free and fair election and a voice in the decisions that affect their workplace. We will continue to fight for them for as long as it takes," a USW spokesperson said in an email. 

The USW originally appealed the results of the April 2019 election, which the union narrowly lost with 675 votes in favor of the union and 712 votes against it. 

The union later claimed that the University used unfair labor practices during the election. The PLRB ultimately decided that these practices did not sway the outcome of the election. 

For the faculty union election, the nearly 3,000 faculty members eligible to vote will have until close of business on Oct. 12 for their ballots to be received at PLRB’s Harrisburg office.

The ballots will be counted starting at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 through no later than Oct. 21, if necessary.

— Donovan Harrell


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