Vote by Pitt graduate students to unionize declared inconclusive

Higher Education, Labor Relations

An election to unionize graduate assistants at the University of Pittsburgh was declared inconclusive Friday after a tally of nearly 1,400 ballots yielded a 37-vote margin favoring Pitt, but left 153 contested votes to be resolved.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board announced the result at 1:45 p.m., after counting that began at 10:30 a.m. in the agency’s Downtown Pittsburgh offices.

Representatives of the university and the United Steelworkers, including student organizers, watched as ballots printed on blue sheets of paper were removed from sealed boxes and counted, the expressions on individual faces mirroring swings of the vote.

Agency officials said 2,016 graduate workers were eligible to cast ballots. Of the 1,387 counted, 712 votes favored no union representation and 675 supported the union.

Tom McWhorter, a University of Pittsburgh lecturer and the Department of English’s academic integrity officer, drops a union card into a ballot box at the William Pitt Union on Jan. 22, 2018.

Of the 153 challenged ballots, three individuals were contested by Pitt as no longer employed, though the individuals were on the list of eligible voters. The other 150 whose votes were challenged by the labor board were not on the list, said Dennis Bachy, an administrative officer for the agency, which conducted the election over four days at Pitt beginning April 15.  For the full story, click here… 

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Is there a link between Title IX, Campus Labor Unions and the Duty to Collectively Bargain Terms and Conditions of Employment?

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, human resources, Labor Relations, title IX, title VII

This vital question has not been examined fully by the courts with regard to the duty to bargain the terms and conditions of employment in light of the Title IX interim guidance set forth in September 2017.  As institutions now enjoy the right under the interim guidance to choose between preponderance of the evidence and the heightened clear and convincing evidence to determine a campus sexual assault violation, the question now turns to whether campus labor unions have a seat at the table when institutions make this decision.  Which standard of review is applicable if a unionized campus employee is alleged to have violated campus Title IX policy? Campus labor unions may, in fact, argue that agreed upon collective bargaining agreement controls (many of which require the clear and convincing evidence standard), while the campus administration may well rely upon the potentially lower standard (preponderance).  Thus, a term and condition of employment.  The following document analyzes this issue under the 2011 DCL, and remains heavily applicable and relevant to the upcoming 2018 Title IX Guidance. Title IX, Labor Unions and the Duty to Collectively Bargain.

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