Graduate students at Cornell say “thanks but no thanks” to unionization

It seems that graduate students at Cornell rejected unionization. At the moment, 919 students voted against it, while only 856 voted in favor, but 81 ballots remain unresolved. Since that’s enough in theory to flip the election, the Arbitrator refused to call it, but I think the result is unlikely to change. Indeed, for the unresolved ballots to flip the election, it would have to be the case that 79% of them were cast in favor of unionization. I’m sure there will be a legal battle over this, especially given how close the result was, but I also think that in the end the anti-union vote will prevail and CGSU will lose.

To be honest, I was assuming that it would win, largely because this election has been remarkably undemocratic. While people who oppose unionization had no resources, CGSU had the support of the AFT and NYSUT, with their enormous resources, to convince students to vote in favor of unionization. Moreover, people who oppose unionization were usually afraid to speak out and, when they did, CGSU did everything it could to silence them. It has also refused to organize a real debate with the anti-union group and made sure the election was organized within 10 days after it had collected enough signatures to force a vote, which for obvious reasons made it essentially impossible to have a real campaign. This is hardly surprising given that, as I demonstrated on this blog a few days ago, CGSU has tried to convince people by cherry-picking the evidence and neglecting to mention crucial information. It’s only natural that it would try to organize the election in a hurry, without any real debate, but it seems that it wasn’t enough.

My post against unionization was shared with every graduate student at Cornell by At What Cost and viewed almost 600 times since I posted it, mostly by graduate students at Cornell (I can tell that based on the timing and sources of traffic), so I like to think that I may have played a small role in this victory. But the real credit should go to the folks who created At What Cost and campaigned indefatigably against unionization despite their relative lack of means. More than anything else, I’m happy that the AFT and NYSUT won’t get another $1 million/year in dues, which they would have used to screw up poor students.

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