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Union Representation

To the Cornell Community:

Cornell Graduate Students United (CGSU), a group of graduate students interested in achieving labor union representation for graduate assistants at Cornell, has affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). CGSU/AFT/NYSUT have filed for a union representation election which will occur on March 27 and 28, 2017, on Cornell’s Ithaca and Geneva campuses. 

The March 27 and 28 election will determine if CGSU/AFT/NYSUT will be the exclusive collective bargaining representative of Cornell graduate assistants for purposes of terms and conditions of assistantship employment.

The vote will be determined by a majority of ballots cast.  It is very important for all eligible voters to cast a ballot on election day.  Votes matter.

If CGSU/AFT/NYSUT is elected, they will serve as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all Ithaca and Geneva campus-based graduate students enrolled in the Graduate School who hold titles as Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, Research Assistants, or Graduate Assistants. 

Eligible voter graduate students are all those in the titles above, enrolled in the Graduate School, for the Spring 2017 semester, for the Ithaca and Geneva campuses.  An election logistics FAQ provides more details about the election process.

Each eligible voter received on Friday, March 17 a detailed joint Notice of Election communication from Cornell, CGSU/AFT/NYSUT, and the American Arbitration Association (AAA).  The AAA will oversee the election process.

Each eligible voter received on Saturday, March 18 their specific voting location assignment.  Every voter has been assigned to one specific voting location.  If an eligible voter has a question about their assigned location, please contact Jason Kahabka, jek15@cornell.edu as soon as possible. 

CGSU/AFT/NYSUT have been communicating their perspectives about various issues.  For facts about graduate student benefits and policies, see the Policies Search page and the Ask a Dean archive.

This website is intended to address information needs of the Cornell community related to this important issue. The list of Frequently Asked Questions reflects many of the questions raised about union representation and the election process and its implications. The Communications and Resources section includes the set of communications from the Graduate School and the university administration about graduate student union representation. 

If you have questions or comments about any of the topics on this site, or questions about graduate assistant union representation that are not yet covered here, please contact me at dean_gradschool@cornell.edu (link sends e-mail) (link sends e-mail) and my Graduate School team and I will endeavor to address your questions. 

I encourage open, constructive, and factual conversations about graduate assistant union representation at Cornell, and I strongly encourage full and free participation in a union representation election by all who are eligible to vote.

Warm regards,

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