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Eligible Voters and Voting

Contents

  1. Who is an eligible voter if an election is held?
  2. What if I was a teaching assistant the semester prior to the election, but I’m on a fellowship for the semester in which the election is held. Can I vote?
  3. Who should vote if an election is held?
  4. I am not eligible to vote in the election because I won’t hold a Policy 1.3 appointment during the semester in which the election occurs, but I will hold an assistantship in a later semester.  If the union is elected, would I still be part of the bargaining unit and subject to the terms and conditions of any labor contract between the union and Cornell? 
  5. Does status as an international graduate student, or as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), affect eligibility to be included in the union or to vote in a union representation election?

1.  Who is an eligible voter if an election is held?

A specific list of eligible voters will be compiled at the time of the election, and will depend on what appointments graduate students hold during the semester in which the election is held.  At Cornell, according to the U-UCRREA, eligible voters would be all Ithaca and Geneva campus-based graduate students enrolled in the Graduate School who are appointed during that semester on Policy 1.3 titles of teaching assistant, graduate assistant, research assistant, and graduate research assistant..


2.  What if I was a teaching assistant the semester prior to the election, but I’m on a fellowship for the semester in which the election is held. Can I vote?

 

Generally, no.  Only Ithaca and Geneva-based students who are enrolled in the Graduate School and appointed on Policy 1.3 titles (teaching assistant, graduate assistant, research assistant, graduate research assistant) during the semester when the vote is conducted will be eligible to vote. However, the U-UCRREA contains a provision that the union and Cornell will discuss interests of the CGSU/AFT/NYSUT to potentially include in the voting unit graduate students who fall into a limited number of unique categories and who do not otherwise hold an assistantship appointment during the semester in which an election is held.  If such students are determined to be eligible voters, they will be notified.


3.  Who should vote if an election is held?

All eligible students should vote (those who hold titles in the collective bargaining unit), because the election outcome is determined by a simple majority of those who actually vote, not by a majority of those who are eligible to vote.  This means that union representation will be determined by voters, and will be binding on both voters and non-voters who hold titles that are included in the collective bargaining unit.

If a simple majority of voters choose union representation, then CGSU/AFT/NYSUT immediately becomes the exclusive agent representing all graduate students in the bargaining unit in negotiations with Cornell concerning terms and conditions of employment such as pay and benefits.  


4.  I am not eligible to vote in the election because I won’t hold a Policy 1.3 appointment during the semester in which the election occurs, but I will hold an assistantship in a later semester.  If the union is elected, would I still be part of the bargaining unit and subject to the terms and conditions of any labor contract between the union and Cornell? 

All students who meet the definition of the bargaining unit would be members of the bargaining unit while they hold that title, regardless of current or future status.  But when a student does not hold an eligible title, he or she is not part of the bargaining unit.

  • Students who are not on Policy 1.3 appointments may not “opt in” to the bargaining unit as a choice.  If, at a later time, they hold Policy 1.3 appointments, then they will be members of the bargaining unit at that time.
  • Students who are on Policy 1.3 appointments may not “opt out” of the bargaining unit as a choice.  Whether or not they voted in the union representation election has no bearing on their ability to choose for themselves whether they want union representation or want to be bound (or not) by the terms and conditions of employment that the union negotiates with the employer.

5.  Does status as an international graduate student, or as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), affect eligibility to be included in the union or to vote in a union representation election?

No, your international student or DACA status does not affect eligibility to vote in a union representation election or to be a member of a labor union. Provided you meet the bargaining unit definition (Ithaca and Geneva campus-based students enrolled in the Graduate School and appointed on Policy 1.3 assistantships), then you are eligible to vote in the union representation election and will be a member of the union if the simple majority of voters votes in favor of union representation.

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