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Penn State Grad Student Challenges Union Vote

Grad student rally
Anne Danahy

Penn State graduate assistants are scheduled to vote on unionizing in April.

But not if grad student Michael Cronin can help it.

Cronin filed a motion to intervene with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. He got help from the conservative-leaning organization, The Fairness Center. Communications director Conner Drigotas said Cronin felt it was important to make his voice heard.

“He’s concerned about his rights," Drigotas said. "He’s concerned that he woke up to discover that he was classified as an employee, and not a student. He sees the relationship between him and Penn State as just that — student and school.”

Jerome Clarke, co-president of the Coalition of Graduate Employees, called the move “meritless.”

“At the end of the day, we find it undemocratic that the Fairness Center is intervening in this election when the most democratic thing would be to actually take it to the vote,” Clarke said.

About 3,800 graduate assistants will be eligible to vote. The decision to allow a vote by a labor relations board examiner followed a lengthy review process.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.
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