Do authorization cards ever expire or are they valid indefinitely?

Date: February 2017


Hello Dean,

CGSU has been trying to get people to sign membership cards for quite some time now. I heard that the union has to show signed cards from at least 30% of the eligible students in order to get permission for an election to occur. Do signed cards ever expire, or are they valid indefinitely?




Dear Curious,

Thank you for your question regarding whether signed union authorization cards ever expire. 

Authorization cards generally remain valid for up to one year, then expire. Having enough signed, valid authorization cards is of concern to CGSU because under the Agreement signed with Cornell, in order to have an election, CGSU must provide the University with seven calendar days’ notice of their intent to file an election petition, and then must present the American Arbitration Association with valid, signed authorization cards from at least 30 percent of the bargaining unit defined in the Agreement. An arbitrator will review and verify the number of cards, and if they meet that threshold a secret ballot election will be scheduled.

If CGSU is not able to reach that threshold of valid, signed authorization cards, according to the Agreement they may not file for election. 

Thanks again for your question,


Barbara A. Knuth
Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School