By Jaclyn Diaz
The Service Employees International Union has withdrawn its petition to represent Duke University graduate students after election results were inconclusive.
Ballots from the Feb. 24 election showed 691 were against union representation, 398 were in favor and 502 ballots were inconclusive. Because the number of challenged ballots is enough to change the results of the election, the next step would be a National Labor Relations Board review and hearings to investigate the ballots.
Instead of going through a long review process, the Duke graduate student organizing committee decided to withdraw the petition, an SEIU representative told Bloomberg BNA March 8.
The university received notice of the withdrawal late March 7, Paula D. McClain, the dean of Duke’s graduate school and the vice provost for graduate education, said in a note to the community.
“We take pride in the efforts we have put forth in providing strong, competitive support for our Ph.D. students. At the same time, the debate over unionization brought to our attention certain concerns among our students,” McClain said in the statement, which appeared on the school’s website. “We look forward to continuing to work with you as collaborative partners to enhance all aspects of your educational experience.”
The Duke organizing committee said the school participated in “union busting” tactics throughout the campaign. That included submitting requests to the NLRB challenging the union’s organizing petitions and seeking delays for the February election, it said. The NLRB denied the requests.
A university spokesman rejected the committee’s characterization.
“The university appropriately exercised all its rights under the law throughout this process,” the spokesman told Bloomberg BNA March 8. “We now look forward to working collaboratively with our graduate students to support their education at Duke.”
The students will continue to advocate for better wages and benefits without a union at Duke, the SEIU spokesman said.
“This is not a decision to quit fighting—rather, it is a recognition that the source of our strength is not lawyers or litigation, but our collective knowledge, power and experience as graduate student workers,” the organizing committee said in a statement.
The SEIU filed the petition to represent Duke graduate students in November. It was the first private university seeking representation by that union after an NLRB decision in August ruled that graduate research and teaching assistants can be considered employees and are eligible to form a union. The decision paved the way for organizing at private colleges across the country.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jaclyn Diaz in Washington at jDiaz@bna.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)