April 19, 2017
Yesterday, the university received a petition for representation that was filed with the National Labor Relations Board by the Service Employees International Union seeking to represent certain Ph.D. and Masters of Fine Arts students in the Schools of Arts and Sciences.
Tufts respects the rights of these graduate students to decide for themselves on whether or not unionization is in their best interests. However, we would note that unionization of Ph.D. and M.F.A. students at Tufts has substantial and potentially long-lasting consequences for students, faculty, and the university as a whole and, as such, there should be a spirited debate on the topic. Indeed, results of graduate student drives in private universities have been mixed, with NYU and some Yale grad students voting for unionization but graduate students at Harvard and Duke turning it down.
Students who are eligible to vote should know the facts, understand the implications, and hear multiple views on this topic. Speaking with colleagues, faculty, staff, and others, as well as reviewing information provided by the union and by the university will help graduate students make an informed decision. As part of the community that would be impacted by unionization, the university has developed a Frequently Asked Questions document. We urge you to review this document, and in particular, the full description of the bargaining unit petitioned by the Service Employees International Union.
During the coming weeks, we will be emailing you updates, as well as additional information as you make this important decision. We will also be scheduling meetings to provide for an exchange of ideas and information on this topic, beginning with a coffee hour with the deans on April 24 from 2:00-3:00pm in the Rabb Room at Lincoln Filene Hall. We hope that you will join us.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, the University remains committed to ensuring that all of our students continue to benefit from the many opportunities available at Tufts. Your success remains central to the University's mission.
James M. Glaser
Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences