Penn State graduate students will not unionize, according to preliminary election results tallied by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board on Tuesday.
Only 950 graduate students voted in support of representation by the Coalition of Graduate Employees and the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Meanwhile, 1,438 ballots were cast against representation, according to a Penn State press release.
“The Graduate School is pleased that many graduate students made their voices heard by voting in the election,” the press release reads.
The union would have represented about 3,800 eligible Penn State graduate assistants and trainees.
CGE has pushed for unionization to ensure fair working conditions and stipends for graduate student assistantships. The organization's other goals include combating discrimination and stabilizing access to health care.
In February 2017, CGE filed for a union election, a move that Penn State administration later opposed.
"We believe it could impede the academic and mentoring relationships Penn State has with its graduate students,” university President Eric Barron said in a letter to the community last April.
The same stance was echoed last month, with Penn State hosting a town hall to clarify the impact of unionizing.
“We believe having a third party, such as a union, inserted in this relationship would not best serve your academic needs or professional growth” Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones said.
At the start of the three-day voting period, the union’s allies buzzed with excitement at the prospect of finally organizing.
With the vote on Penn State graduate student unionization coming up, not all grad students are excited about the possibility of organizing.
The Coalition of Graduate Employees continued to celebrate the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board’s decision last Friday, holding a “We Are Workers Rally” on Wednesday on the steps of Old Main.