University Of Pittsburgh Seeks To Block Graduate Student Unionization Vote

PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) – The University of Pittsburgh is moving to block a new election seeking to unionize graduate student workers that have been proposed by a state labor board official.

Our partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the university said in a statement on Tuesday, October 8 that it disagrees with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official’s finding of unfair labor practices.

A university statement said the institution “acted appropriately leading up to and throughout the April 2019 election,” which left the United Steelworkers 37 votes short.

The union and student organizers accused university officials of tactics including coercion that discouraged the vote.

The PLRB ruling told the Post-Gazette that Pitt engaged in coercive actions to persuade graduates to vote against joining the union.

Last month, the union said those acts, “potentially affected a large enough pool of eligible voters for the effect on the election to be manifest due to the extreme narrowness of the result.”

“The university looks forward to a closer review — with full context considered — of these three counts in question.”

The university had 20 days to respond to the hearing examiner’s Sept. 18 proposed ruling and order for a new election. The matter is now expected to go before the full labor board.