Cornell grad student unionizing vote too close to call

A statement from the Dean of the Graduate School at Cornell University says there are more unresolved ballots than the margin between yes and no votes in this week’s election, so the decision on unionizing Cornell’s grad students must go to arbitration.

The secret ballot election held this Monday and Tuesday “was held to determine if Cornell Graduate Students United (CGSU), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) would serve as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for Cornell University Graduate Assistants on the Ithaca and Geneva campuses who hold titles under University Policy 1.3,” according to the statement from Dean Barbara A. Knuth, also Cornell’s Senior Vice Provost.

Dean Knuth’s statement to the Cornell community says that of 1,775 counted ballots, 919 voted against representation, and 856 voted for representation by CGSU, AFT, and NYSUT. “An additional 81 ballots remain unresolved,” she says. The statement doesn’t elaborate on why those 81 “challenged ballots” can’t be counted.

According to Dean Knuth, the resolution of the vote will be “overseen by an arbitrator,” according to the agreement laid out last May between Cornell University and the unions, “and following standards applied by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to the extent those standards are otherwise consistent with this agreement.”

Dr. Knuth says they anticipate the review process “will occur within the next month.”

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