The SEIU chose a Friday afternoon near the end of the semester to file its petition seeking to become your exclusive bargaining representative. The NLRB strives to hold all elections within weeks of the date the petition is filed. Therefore, although we do not yet have a definitive date for the election, the timing of the union’s filing means that the election likely will be held before this semester concludes, during a period when your time and attention are focused on end-of-semester classes, exams, papers and grading.

In light of this, many of you have expressed concern that you are feeling pressured or rushed in making this important decision, which can have profound consequences on your employment. Many have indicated a desire for more time to confer with colleagues, to consider your options, to research the ramifications of unionization, and to learn more about SEIU and other, alternative unions.

One way to gain more time for making a fully-informed decision is to vote “No” to union representation in the upcoming election and to encourage colleagues to do the same. If the petition for representation is not approved this semester, everyone would have more time to engage in whatever due diligence they think is necessary to fully educate themselves about the consequences of their choice. If, after gathering and evaluating relevant information, faculty deem it beneficial to be collectively represented by SEIU or by another union, another election could be held a year after the first one.

An additional benefit of “calling a timeout” like this is that it provides an opportunity for you to share any concerns you may have directly with the University and assess its response, before having to decide whether to call upon an outside party, which will expect you to pay union dues, to raise those same issues for you. Remember, once a union is voted in, it is difficult to undo that decision even if the union is not delivering on its promises. That is why many employees who are eligible to organize decide to first attempt to work out any issues directly with their employer. Dean Schaal and I are always willing to hear from faculty about issues that are important to you.

H. Holden Thorp
Holden Thorp