If I vote not to be represented, will my wishes be recognized?

Date: March 2017


Dear Deans,

I just had a quick question about the eligible voter email I received. You stated that I will soon receive additional information about how and when to cast a vote in the ballot election to indicate whether or not I wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining by CGSU / AFT / NYSUT.

My question is, if I vote to not be represented by the union, will those wishes be recognized? Or is it a collective vote in which if the majority of graduate students choose to be represented we all must be represented by the union? I am just confused by this ballot vote. I look forward to your response!


Confused Voting Graduate Student


Dear Confused Voting Graduate Student,

 Thanks very much for your question. The results of the election will be binding on all students who meet the criteria to be in the collective bargaining unit: all Ithaca and Geneva campus-based students enrolled in the Graduate School who hold positions as TA, GRA, RA, or GA.

The election will be determined by the majority of ballots cast, not based on the number of eligible voters.

Regarding your question, if you vote not to be represented by the union, but the majority of ballots cast are for being represented by the union, as long as you meet the criteria above (hold one of the types of appointment above), you would be required to be a member of the union. After an election, if a union is elected in, individuals cannot choose to opt out, other than by refusing to hold a TA, GRA, RA, or GA appointment.

So, yes, your characterization of this as a collective vote in which if the majority of graduate students vote to be represented, all (in the TA, GRA, RA, GA categories as above) must be represented by the union.

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Warm regards,


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