On April 18th, we filed our petition for election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and it was determined that we have demonstrated enough support to hold an election this semester!
In any union election, the employer (in this case, Tufts) is required to provide a complete list of eligible voters, and their contact information, to the NLRB, which then shares this data with the union organizing committee. This is so both parties can reach eligible voters to provide information that will allow them to make an informed decision when they vote. Because we, as graduate students, are protected by the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Tufts suggested that a subpoena be issued by the NLRB so that Tufts could comply with labor law while fulfilling their obligations under FERPA. Your information will be used to ensure that you are able to exercise your right to vote - that’s it. We hope this provides come clarity to Dean Cook’s recent email, as we know it caused some confusion!
Now that our election is officially underway, there are a few things you should know:
Get out the vote!
Over the next few weeks, you can expect to hear from the organizing committee. This may happen face-to-face, via email, text, or by phone. We know it’s a busy time of year, and we would not bother you if this were not super important. We want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make your decision, and we want to make sure you know exactly how to make your voice heard when the time comes.
Your ballot will be mailed to you from the NLRB in early May. A member of our organizing committee will reach out to you to make sure you are well versed on voting procedures (it can be easier than you think to spoil a ballot!) It saves us a lot of work if we are able to get in touch with you! So, please, let us know the best ways to reach you.
Who's eligible to vote?
Ph.D. students enrolled and working in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences who provide instructional or research services, whether as Teaching Assistants, Graduate Instructors or Research Assistants, as a condition of receiving a stipend, and Masters students in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts who provide instructional or research services, whether as Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants, as a condition of receiving a stipend. Individuals who meet this definition on April 14, 2017 are considered eligible voters in the upcoming election.
What happens next?
All it takes is a simple majority to win the election. Winning by a large margin shows Tufts that a sizable portion of us are willing to stand up for better working conditions, and that the graduate student body takes issue with the unilateral nature in which these decisions are made. This type of election outcome would give us a much stronger position at the bargaining table when it comes time for contract negotiation. Once we win, we’ll begin the process of developing our proposals for bargaining, and we’ll invite active participation through surveys, open meetings, and one-on-one conversations.
If you are supportive and would like to help us in our effort to get out the vote, please get in touch with us as soon as possible, and feel free to come by our weekly organizing meeting on Wednesday in Aidekman 009 from 2-4pm!
For more information and updates, be sure to check out our Facebook page!