Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

March 12, 2017

Vote on Graduate Student Union Scheduled for March 27, 28

Print More

Cornell Graduate Students United announced on Sunday that the graduate student union recognition election will take place later in March.

This announcement comes less than a week after CGSU notified the University of its intention to file a representation petition with the American Arbitration Association.

CGSU will be filing their union membership cards to the AAA for verification on Monday, according to Michaela Brangan grad, administrative liaison for CGSU. In order for an election to be triggered, the AAA must verify that CGSU has collected signatures from at least 30 percent of its bargaining unit.

According to CGSU’s announcement, the voting will take place over two days: Monday, March 27 and Tuesday, March 28 — both from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Graduate students will be assigned to different polling locations on campus, including Room G01 in Biotech, B73 in Warren Hall, Goldman Lounge in Duffield Hall and in the former Temple of Zeus space in Goldwin Smith Hall. There will be one additional location off-campus in Geneva, open only on Tuesday, March 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Following CGSU’s notification to the University, members met with the Union Management Committee and members of Cornell administration — Barbara Knuth, dean of the graduate school, Jason Kahabka, associate dean for administration and Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources, and safety services — to decide the locations on campus where voting would take place, according to Brangan.

“We arranged among ourselves what we thought would be a good mix of different spots on campus to make sure that everybody was conveniently able to vote,” Brangan said. “We broke it up into two blocks so that people who maybe don’t come onto campus into later in the afternoon, who stay late, would still have the opportunity to vote.”

Per an agreement with the University, CGSU chose to only allow in-person, on-campus voting. The purpose for this decision was to “ensure election rules are being followed and that voters’ rights are protected,” Brangan said in a statement.

For this reason, CGSU intentionally chose to disallow online balloting.

“We want on-campus voting is so that people are able to vote securely and ensure their rights are being protected,” Brangan told The Sun. “I know that a lot of people might think that online is more convenient, which is true for a lot of things, but it’s also less secure.”

The result of this election will determine the establishment of a graduate student union, as the University has negotiated in its contract with CGSU that it will recognize the union.

“If a majority (50 percent + 1) of the Graduate Assistants voting in an election conducted pursuant to the terms of this Agreement votes in favor of representation by the union, Cornell shall immediately grant recognition to the union as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the united with all the rights and obligations of a union certified by the NLRB to the extent consistent with this Agreement,” the contract reads.