Northwestern graduate students have voted to unionize and will join the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) moderated the election held Jan. 10 to 11 on the Evanston and Chicago campuses. Its final tally shows that, of the 2,893 students eligible to vote, 1,644 voted in favor of unionization and 114 voted against.
Graduate assistants, teaching assistants, research assistants and fellows enrolled in Northwestern degree programs will now be represented by UE when they provide instructional or research services for the University.
“Northwestern deeply values the contributions that graduate students make to its research and teaching missions, and we are proud to provide firsthand experiences that serve as excellent preparation for a range of career outcomes,” said Provost Kathleen Hagerty. “We thank the voters for casting ballots and respect their decision. We look forward to beginning the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that works for both the University and graduate students within the bargaining unit.”
As collective bargaining begins between Northwestern and UE, the University will provide updates on the process via the graduate student unionization website, where students, faculty and staff are invited to submit questions.
By voting to unionize, Northwestern students join a small but growing list nationwide, which includes students at schools from Yale, Harvard and MIT to the University of Illinois and the University of Washington, among others. Students at the University of Chicago filed recently for a union election, also in affiliation with UE.
“Northwestern has been and remains dedicated to cultivating its relationship with graduate students, keeping the lines of communication open and working collaboratively on issues important to students and the University,” said Kelly Mayo, dean of The Graduate School and associate provost for graduate education. “Because of this commitment, the University attracts the best graduate students in the world and prepares them to be scholars and thought leaders of the future.”