Will the union subpoena my information in the spring, if so, how do I opt out?

Date: November 2016


Dear Graduate School Deans,

I’ve searched the CGSU website, but I could not find any information regarding the timeline for a potential graduate student unionization vote. Assuming the vote happens next semester (in the spring) would CGSU try to subpoena our home addresses and phone numbers once again?

I and some of my colleagues are getting annoyed by persistent visits by union members and would not like them to start contacting us outside of campus. Last time, the opt-out information was buried at the bottom of an email from the university, and I personally did not notice it. Luckily the graduate student group called “At What Cost” sent me an email to highlight the fact that graduate students had the ability to opt-out of the subpoena. Should we, meaning graduate students, keep our eyes open for another opt-out email from the university or At What Cost?

Thank you for your time,

Curious Graduate Student


Dear Curious,

Thanks for your question about the timing of a union representation election and whether CGSU will be able to subpoena graduate students’ home addresses and phone numbers again. According to the Agreement between the university and CGSU/AFT/NYSUT, “the Union shall provide the University with 7 calendar days’ notice of its intent to file an election petition.” After that 7 day period, the Union would file its election petition with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) including making a “showing to the AAA of valid, signed (paper or electronic) authorization cards from 30% of the bargaining unit as defined” in the Agreement. A union representation election would be conducted by the AAA with a “maximum of 15 business days between the date of the request … and the election.” 

The university is required to provide the Union with the voter eligibility list after the Union has filed its election petition. The university will notify affected students that this list is being provided to the Union. However, graduate students will not be able to opt-out of this list.  

The voter eligibility list that the university must provide to the Union would include all graduate assistants who are eligible to vote in the election, which would be all graduate students who, in the semester in which the election is held, are appointed on Policy 1.3 assistantships (TA, GRA, RA, GA). This means that some names that were on the lists provided to the Union in Summer ’16 and Fall ’16 will not be on the voter eligibility list (if some of those students are not on Policy 1.3 assistantships in the semester of the election) and that some new names will be on the voter eligibility list (for those students who were not on assistantships for prior lists but are on assistantships in the semester the election is held). 

The voter eligibility list will provide graduate assistant names, personal mailing addresses, personal phone numbers, personal email addresses, department, job title, degree program, start date, and field of study.

As long as the Agreement is in effect, graduate assistants should not expect another opt-out email, but should watch for information from the university about how to vote in an election, if the Union files an election petition.

Thanks again for your question.

Warm regards,


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