GSU relented to the university’s request and have changed their election petition! Originally they requested the NLRB conduct a mail in ballot vote on the union over the summer, while most students were off campus. Now they have changed their request to an in person election during the fall quarter, likely October.
An in person election means that Graduate students in the bargaining unit (the composition of which has yet to be confirmed by the NLRB) will vote in one of a few voting locations around campus over the course of a few days. Each student can only cast a ballot for them selves with their physical presence. Students away at conferences or visiting home can not cast an absentee ballot.
It is my personal opinion that due to the tumultuous issue of constantly changing mailing addresses and off campus summer work, the in person election during the fall quarter will likely allow more students to vote than the summer mail in ballot would have. Similarly it has been my experience as a student organizer and the experience of other student organizers I know, that the most effective way to reach U of C students is through signs hung in popular places. I don’t know why this is more effective than social media but for Uchicago its what works. The in person election allows students to be notified of the election via signage all over campus which I think will result in a larger voter turn out.
Released through a FOIA request, the original and updated RC petitions for unionization have been released and can be found here.
Note that the size of the bargaining unit is at 2559. If we assume $500 in dues a year per student (c.f. University of Michigan dues), this means GSU stands to gain over $1.3 million PER YEAR. Think about this figure next time someone tries to get your vote through ideological arguments.
Furthermore, both original (05/08) and amended (05/17) call for elections from May 30th – June 20th. This date has been set in stone since the original petition, yet why does GSU answer “some time soon” whenever asked when the election will be?
We learned a lot from our meeting with Jake Rubinstein Esq. We talked about the university’s plans for how they will respond to the actions of GSU and came across an important problem. We believe GSU is currently petitioning the NLRB to hold a mail in secret ballot election. This means that the university will provide its current list of graduate students in the proposed bargaining unit and the NLRB will mail ballots to the addresses that the university has on file for each of us. We will then fill out the ballot and snail mail it back. You can see the potential problem here, many of us do not have our current addresses updated on my.uchicago because we all move so often.
The last thing that we, the university, and GSU want is low voter turnout. So we need everyone to update their current mailing address on my.uchicago to ensure that everyone actually receives the ballots they are mailed if this goes to a vote. We need to spread this word like wild fire. Update your mailing address on my.uchicago to your current one (where you actually receive and check your mail) and be ready to start checking your mail regularly.
Please share this information and talk to your friends and faculty about Stop and Think. We need to reach the whole graduate student body so they are ready for a potential mail in election.
We plan to have meetings multiple times before the election. However we need to know When is everyone is most available to meet. If you are interested in going to a meeting please fill out this survey.
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