NLRB official rejects Columbia objections to grad union vote

  • March 7, 2017

Organizing Efforts Rising On College Campuses  

Politico Pro is reporting that the NLRB has rejected arguments from Columbia University over a recent election in which graduate students voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the UAW.

The university had alleged that UAW leadership “improperly coerced ” voters, among other misbehavior, and requested a new election be held.

Zweighaft held a hearing in the board’s Brooklyn office in late January. She issued her report and recommendations on Monday, finding that any irregularities were minor, and advocating the certification of Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW Local 2110.

“The Employer has failed to demonstrate that any alleged objectionable conduct occurred which could have affected the results of this election, in which the Petitioner prevailed by more than 900 votes,” she wrote. “Accordingly, I have recommended overruling the Employer’s objections in their entirety … I recommend that the Petitioner be certified as the exclusive bargaining representative.”

Olga Brudastova, a civil engineering PhD student and union organizer, said in a statement: “Now that we’ve officially won our union, we can focus on bargaining improvements in a fair contract.”

The university now has until March 20 to file exceptions to Zweighaft’s recommendations. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the development.

Read the report and recommendations here.