Graduate student workers at Northeastern University have voted 1,130 to 70 to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board says.
There were 179 challenged ballots. Either side can challenge ballots in union elections, but the NLRB said those ballots “were not counted because they are not determinative to the outcome.”
The vote to join a United Autoworkers–affiliated union took place Tuesday through Thursday in Boston. The union will represent grad workers who provide instruction or research at the Boston campus and two others in Massachusetts, in Burlington and Nahant.
The private university filed a legal motion Wednesday asking the NLRB to reverse its “decision and direction” to hold the election. But when asked Friday whether the university plans to object to the election results, Renata Nyul, Northeastern's vice president for communications, wrote in an email that “Northeastern applauds those students who took the time to participate in the election.”
“Now that voting has concluded, we will move to the next phase of this process, which will include negotiations to reach a collective bargaining agreement,” she wrote.
Shahinaz Geneid, a union member who’s a Northeastern law student and a Ph.D. student in its School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said, “We have been attempting to organize and come to this point of getting an election for eight years.”
The university has “been trying to slow down this process in spite of the really large graduate worker support” demonstrated by the election results, Geneid said.
“We’ve had fantastic support across the Boston community, across the entire U.S. and across Northeastern’s campus, and we’re excited to meet Northeastern at the bargaining table,” she said.
This latest vote at Northeastern is part of a nationwide surge in student worker bargaining units.