Update: April 24, 2017
Dear Graduate Student Colleagues:
As we shared with you last week, the Service Employees International Union is seeking to represent a bargaining unit that includes certain graduate students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Read the full description of the petitioned-for bargaining unit and our past communications, which include critical information associated with this process.
We also want to let you know that we learned late on Friday that the National Labor Relations Board will conduct the election by mail ballot and that Voting Begins May 1, 2017. Review the Notice of Election provided by the NLRB. The voting process will begin on May 1, 2017 with the NLRB sending out ballots to the eligible voters. Eligible voters should start receiving their ballots on May 2 or 3. The ballot question will be: Do you wish to be represented for the purposes of collective bargaining by the Service Employees International Union Local 509? Yes or No?
Eligible voters will then have two weeks to return their ballot to the NLRB. The ballot process will close on May 16, 2017 — no ballots received after May 16 by close of business (5 p.m.) will be accepted. Votes will be counted at the National Labor Relations Board’s Region 1 Office in Boston on May 18, 2017 at 1 pm. Once the count is completed, the vote will be publicized. No matter what the result, we will continue to work collaboratively and collegially with our graduate students.
This process moves very quickly, so we urge you to become informed about and engaged in the process as soon as possible. To facilitate your involvement, we will be meeting today in the Raab Room from 2-3 p.m. to discuss unionization and any questions you may have. Refreshments will be served and we do hope you will join us. If you can’t make it today, please do feel free to bring your questions and/or concerns to us at any time. We will be scheduling additional opportunities for discussion, so please look out for those upcoming meetings on the Medford and SMFA campus. We will also be sending out additional information in the coming weeks that you may find helpful in your decision making process.
All voting will be by mail and is by secret ballot – no one will know how you vote. You need not inform anyone of your vote nor should you be compelled to do so. The University strongly encourages all eligible graduate students to vote and notes that all ballots will be mailed to the current address provided by students to the University. If you have any reason to believe that your current address is out of date or would like to confirm that the University has the address properly recorded, contact Jennifer Cloutier at 617-627-3326.
The outcome of the vote will be determined by a majority of those who vote, just like any political election. If only 20 people vote, and 11 vote for the union, the union would be voted in. All graduate students in the bargaining unit would be bound by the election results and would be exclusively represented by the union, whether they voted or not.
If the majority of graduate students vote to unionize, by law the union would become the exclusive agent for all graduate students for all aspects of wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Tufts would no longer be able to work with graduate students directly, or through any other body or committee, on such topics unless authorized by the union or by the collective bargaining agreement. Voting by all members of the bargaining unit is therefore critical to accurately representing the position of all students in the proposed bargaining unit.
Please vote! Visit the Graduate Student Unionization FAQ for answers to questions related to the upcoming election.
James M. Glaser
Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Robert G. Cook
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences