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WU | Who Cares If Cornell Cares?

Watchful pedestrians may have caught a glimpse of the stout black truck trundling across campus last month. Its exterior, a carnelian-red LED screen, bore the unmistakable words “Does Cornell Care?” Does it? Should it? Its screen flashed another image, this one depicting Touchdown holding a “Displaced” sign alongside the text “Over 100 Students Without Housing.” If Cornell cared, it was certainly doing a poor job of showing it. Those responsible for the truck, the Tompkins-Cortland Building and Construction Trades Council, a local labor union, sought to right a wrong.

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: ILR faculty perspectives on negotiations between the Cornell Administration and CGSU

To the editor:

The following letter was sent to Cornell President Martha Pollack on September 6, 2017:

Dear President Pollack:

Labor Day provides an important moment to reflect on the rights of employees, including on the Cornell campus. As you know, in March 2017, Cornell graduate employees voted on whether to be represented by the Cornell Graduate Students United in collective bargaining with Cornell. The election results were close, with 856 votes for union representation, 919 votes against union representation and 81 ballots not yet counted due to questions about voter eligibility. At this point, therefore, the final outcome of that election remains uncertain. According to the Cornell Graduate School, it is expected that a final tally would maintain the majority “no” vote.

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Letter to the Editor: ILR faculty object to Cornell’s coercive conduct prior to CGSU election

To the editor:

As faculty members in the Cornell University ILR School, we are deeply concerned about the conduct of the Cornell administration on March 26, the eve of the Cornell Graduate Students United election and on March 27, the first day of voting in the election. On both days, Cornell’s Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara Knuth sent emails to thousands of Cornell graduate students with messages that interfered with graduate employees’ ability to freely exercise their rights to choose whether to be represented by the CGSU. In raising our concerns about Dean Knuth’s conduct, we draw on our expertise and experience in the field of labor law, labor relations and labor rights. Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is unlawful for an employer to make statements that would have the tendency to “interfere with, restrain or coerce” employees in exercising their rights to choose whether to unionize.  Unlawful coercive statements by employer representatives include explicit or implicit threats that the employer may cut back on jobs if employees vote for a union.

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Cornell, Union File Grievances on Opening Day of Voting

Cornell Graduate Students United and its affiliates in addition to Cornell administration have referred grievances to an arbitrator after a controversial email was sent out last night by Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara Knuth and alleged complaints by student voters of coercion and “electioneering by CGSU/AFT/NYSUT.”