Penn State Grad Students Vote 'No' On Unionizing

Apr 24, 2018

Graduate assistants and fellows at Penn State voted in April 2018 on unionizing. The vote, which was against unionizing, was announced April 24, 2018.
Credit Anne Danahy / WPSU

Graduate assistants at Penn State voted no to unionizing, according to the results that were announced Tuesday.

Grad student organizers say they’re disappointed. Jerome Clarke, co-president of the Coalition of Graduate Employees, pointed to what he called divide and conquer tactics by Penn State. That includes the university saying international students’ visas could be affected if there was ever a strike.

“We do believe that our primary antagonist in this campaign was fear,” Clarke said.

Of the 3,800 graduate employees who were eligible to vote, 1,438 voted no and 950 voted yes.

The university was against grad students unionizing. It questioned the benefits of unionizing and argued it could “fundamentally alter the graduate student experience.”

In a statement about the results, the university said: “The Graduate School will continue to address areas of concern to graduate students through direct interaction and through regular coordination with the Graduate and Professional Students Association.”

The graduate student organizers say they will continue to advocate for grad assistants too.