Penn State Grad Student Vote On Unionizing Begins

Apr 11, 2018

After years of organizing, Penn State graduate student employees have begun casting their ballots on whether or not to unionize. 

As voting began Tuesday, graduate employees and supporters rallied outside Old Main, the university administration building.

“I think there’s a lot of energy here and it’s really inspiring,” said Nick Dietrich, a doctoral student in political science.

He thinks grad students contribute a lot to the university and deserve a say in working conditions.

In a nearby building, grad students were casting their ballots.

Rebecca Payne is a doctoral student in geosciences. She was there to vote yes.

“I would love to see a union," Payne said. "I think it would be really good for graduate students here.”

Greg Derk also voted Tuesday. A graduate student in mechanical engineering, he is not for unionizing.

“Extra effort doesn’t always mean extra reward. And that your extra effort can go to someone else’s reward," Derk said.

The election will continue at University Park through Friday, followed by voting at Penn State Hershey and Harrisburg, and mail-in voting at Great Valley and Behrend.

Vote counting by the state Labor Relations Board is scheduled for April 24.